Hawaiian shifts capacity from Asia to the Mainland USA

Hawaiian Airlines is adjusting their operations this Spring, responding to shifts in demand for service. Or, perhaps, abandoning routes which never really materialized and bulking up where they think they can score big. Service between Honolulu and Fukuoka is being cut at the end of June, joining Manila as destinations dropped after a spectacular expansion pace into Asia over the past few years. And, thanks to “robust demand” the carrier is starting service early on their Maui-Los Angeles route (now starting 2 May 14, not 1 June 14) and doubling up frequencies for the summer, thanks in part to the aircraft freed up from the Fukuoka service. They’re also restoring service between Honolulu and San Jose, California plus up-gauging the flights between Honolulu and Oakland.

Routes dropped and added/expanded by Hawaiian Airlines
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Routes shifting around is hardly new, though Hawaiian seems to be a bit more aggressive about it than other US carriers. Well, I suppose the Delta dartboard has seen some similar results but it is not too common that last-minute seasonal adjustments like this happen. Then again, it is also not too common that airlines have a spare wide-body planes around, something Hawaiian has managed to do with their recent intake of A330s and which will continue in the next couple years as the carrier continues to add A330s at a pace exceeding their retirement of 767s. The carrier also plans to acquire A350-800 aircraft in the second half of this decade but it is not clear that the –800 variant will ever actually be made. Many orders have converted to the –900 model making the viability of the –800 rather suspect.

Of course, the fleet growth means the carrier must continue to find routes which can be profitable on the larger aircraft. Cutting back in Asia might not be such a great vote of confidence on that front. And with increased competition lately between the islands and the west coast of the mainland Hawaiian may not be able to fill those wide-body aircraft too effectively on those routes either. At least they have a few years before the A320neo and 737MAX variants start to fly. Those will increase the potential narrow-body options available to the islands, potentially adding even more competition.

Definitely some interesting things to consider in looking at the future of the carrier.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I don’t understand HAs business model. Pushing most flights thru HNL made sense years ago when relatively few people were flying to Hawaii. But why can’t I fly OAK-LIH every day of the year rather than a few high demand months? I avoid those high demand months for obvious reasons. Having to wait hours to catch a puddle jumper in HNL while I could be already on the beach infuriates me.

    Competitors can profitably fly year round to individual islands and they get my business instead. It boggles me why Hawaiian seems determined to lose market share in their own backyard. Amazing they are still around, let alone growing. Just the luck of having Asia as their backyard I suppose – and having an even more incompetent airline (Aloha) disappear when roofs started tearing off…

  2. Based on a quick glance of the title, I thought this was going to be another thread about Seth’s preferred travel attire….


  3. TPE is also being cut by Hawaiian, freeing up additional aircraft capacity. And HA is prepared for the coming 737MAX and A320neo competition, with their own order for the A321neo.

  4. My hope is, all of this activity will have a positive impact on fares….we have been seeing upwards of $1,000 KOA-LAX….with HA actually flying from the west coast into Kona now, there is hope…

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