Hawaiian Airlines will become the only US carrier to serve Brisbane, Australia, with new nonstop service to Honolulu to commence from November 27, the Honolulu-based airline announced Tuesday. Hawaiian will operate the nine hour flight thrice weekly onboard Boeing 767-300ER aircraft configured with 18 seats in Business Class and 244 seats in Economy Class, and will be the only carrying offering nonstop service between the two cities. Hawaiian will also become the first US airline to serve Brisbane since Continental Airlines exited the route two decades ago (the service was a unique one, operating Honolulu - Cairns - Brisbane - Honolulu) and the only US carrier currently flying to the city with its own aircraft. Qantas and subsidiary Jetstar offer nonstop service between Honolulu and Sydney.
Hawaiian CEO Mark Dunkerley noted that Hawaiian's entry into Sydney in 2004 reawakened Australians' interest in Hawai'i as a tourist destination. "Competitors followed us and now, eight years later, Hawai'i is one of the most popular and fastest growing international holiday destinations for travelers from Australia," he said. "The Brisbane gateway will provide much easier access to Hawai'i for residents of the State of Queensland, and more convenient connections for travelers from a number of other Australian states."
Hawaiian also codeshares with Virgin Australia in an agreement that allows the Australian airline to place its own flight number and code on Hawaiian flights to and from Honolulu, and that agreement will include Brisbane once the service begins. The flights are timed to provide same-day connections throughout Australia, giving passengers an alternative to the current schedule option that connects to Hawaiian flights at Sydney.
The new service down under will also have positive impact on the state economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism. Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawai'i Tourism Authority (HTA), commented, "Hawaiian's starting of service between Brisbane and Honolulu is great news for our tourism economy, as this new route will provide better connectivity for Australians to visit the Hawaiian Islands. Hawai'i continues to be a popular destination in Australia with arrivals for first quarter 2012 increasing 55 percent over last year." The HTA estimates that Hawaiian's Brisbane-Honolulu service will generate $83 million in visitor expenditures and $9 million in tax revenue annually for Hawai'i. A larger trend in visitors to the US from Australia can be linked to a stronger Australian Dollar, backed by a relatively robust Australian economy.
Hawaiian has not announced a date to begin selling seats on the new service, which appears to be timed for convenience with inbound traffic from Australia rather than any connecting service to other Hawaiian longhaul destinations at Honolulu: the Southbound flight departs Honolulu too early for same-day connecting service from any other Hawaiian destination outside Hawai'i except Las Vegas.
Hawaiian Airlines Flight HA 443, will depart Honolulu at 10:20 a.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, cross the international dateline and land in Brisbane at 4:00 p.m. the following day. The return Flight HA 444, will depart Brisbane at 6:35 p.m. every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, cross the international dateline and arrive in Honolulu at 8:05 a.m. Connections to and from Neighbor Islands are also available.
The Honolulu-based airline's route network has recently seen rapid expansion. New York JFK and Fukuoka, Japan joined the system this year, and Hawaiian recently added capacity on the Sydney route with larger aircraft and increased frequency. Hawaiian previously announced new service to Sapporo, the airline's fourth Japanese gateway, in May, and a new Maui hub was announced in January.