This year's surprise expansion of Hawaii tourism can continue to year's end, but for it to happen the planes landing at Honolulu International will have to be a little fuller.
November will see 912,888 air seats flying to the islands, down 1%, or about 10,000, from last year. For Oahu it will be worse: a 2.2% decline, or 14,000 fewer seats. Kona seats will be down slightly. Offsetting much of that will be 4,000 more seats to Maui and small increases to Kauai and the Big Island.
All of this presumes the same flight capacity as last year. If planes fly fuller, the bottom line can still be better. It can also be better if the people who come here, stay longer, and if they spend more. In October, the number of visitors was up about 3% but their spending was up about 10%. The result was, October was another record monthly for visitor spending, $1.2 billion.
The mild downtrend in capacity that might or might not translate to fewer visitors can be seen broadly across many airports. November capacity to Hawaii will be down 7% from Phoenix and down 3% from SeaTac; down by smaller ratios from Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, LAX, San Diego. Earlier this year Hawaii got significantly more seats from the San Francisco Bay Area, but airline executives warned capacity there was "overbaked."
On the international side, airlift will be down 0.3% in November, with Japan down 3.5%. But capacity will be higher from Vancouver and Sydney, and the much greater influx of visitors from South Korea will apparently continue, Seoul capacity up almost 28% from last year.
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