Hawaiian Airlines is growing their long-haul service offerings in a big way, with Auckland, New Zealand as the newest destination announced. The carrier will be offering service between the South Pacifica capital and Honolulu three times weekly starting on March 13, 2013. Flight schedules have not been announced but the carrier has indicated that the trip will be flown on their 767-300ER aircraft.
Auckland is the eighth new long-haul destination announced by Hawaiian since November 2010. Other options include Tokyo, New York City and, also starting in early 2013, Brisbane, Australia. These route additions have come as Hawaiian is adding to their long-haul fleet; they’ve taken delivery of several A330s over the past two years and eventually expect to have 22 of these aircraft in their fleet. Even with the scheduled retirement of the 767-300 fleet the new aircraft have opened up opportunities for Hawaiian to reach into new markets, something they are pursuing aggressively.
On both the Brisbane service starting in November 2012 and the Auckland service Hawaiian will be the only US carrier operating to those cities. They will also be the only US carrier flying to New Zealand; United Airlines recently indicated that they will scuttle their planned Houston – Auckland route before it ever takes flight.
The airline has noted the significant tourism opportunities in both directions for these destinations. Going after such markets is, in many ways, flying in the face of recent industry trends which have focused more on business-heavy routes. Given Hawaii‘s location in the Pacific and what destinations they have within range it is not surprising that they are going in this direction; there aren’t a lot of other business destinations to be found. Said CEO Mark Dunkerley in a statement:
New Zealanders are avid travelers and we believe the introduction of new nonstop flights with our winning brand of service will be welcomed in meeting pent-up demand for a Hawaii vacation. At the same time, our new service will offer Hawaii residents easy access to the natural wonders and Maori culture of New Zealand.
With 40,000 seats annually between the islands the opportunities for passengers to have these experiences is growing significantly.