Hawaiian Airlines will expand operations at Kahului Airport on Maui, creating a second hub in the Hawaiian Islands, the Honolulu based airline announced Thursday. Increased flights from Maui to the Big Island and new roundtrip service between Maui and Kaua'i (service previously operated nonstop in only one direction) will be timed to connect with the carrier's existing Mainland service from Maui, including a retimed Las Vegas nonstop, and a new Los Angeles nonstop which will be added in June. Los Angeles joins Seattle/Tacoma, Las Vegas, Oakland, and San Jose, which already have nonstop service to the Garden Isle, although service from Portland was recently discontinued.
Hawaiian took delivery of three additional Boeing 717 aircraft to support the additional Maui service in late 2011 and early 2012. In addition to adjusting Mainland schedules to support the additional interisland flights, the schedules have been optimized to facilitate connections between Neighbor Islands bypassing Honolulu, Hawaiian's primary and largest hub operation.
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO, commented, “This investment in our core business here in Hawaii will increase service between Maui and other neighbor islands by 25 percent, and answer a need identified by our kama‘aina [local] travelers. We appreciate the support of our state lawmakers, the Department of Transportation, and Maui County in helping us to move this project forward to the benefit of Hawaii’s air travelers.”
The new Maui hub provides a needed relief for the Honolulu hub, which becomes increasingly overcapacity as Hawaiian adds additional cities in Asia and North America. The airline has added two cities in Japan and one in Korea in the past 24 months, and has already announced plans to increase capacity by upgrading both Japanese cities to larger Airbus A330 aircraft. A third Japanese destination, Fukuoka, will come online in Spring 2011. Hawaiian's frequency to Sydney increased to daily service in December, and a new nonstop to New York - JFK will commence in June. Maui is ideally located for quick connecting flights to the Big Island and Kaua'i, and as Hawai'i's second largest tourist destination after O'ahu, also attracts significant local traffic. In addition to the new Maui service, Hawaiian will increase frequency to Kaua'i, Maui, and the Big Island from Honolulu during peak travel times to support additional demand.
The additional service is also a boon to the airline's efforts to promote the new Neighbor Island Travel Plans, which allow frequent interisland travelers to purchase prepaid passes for interisland travel. The additional service provides more nonstop options for purchasers of the passes, which requires nonstop travel on most options.
Hawaiian's service to Maui dates back to the airline's first flight on November 11, 1929, when it was included as an en route stop on the inaugural service: an eight seat Sikorsky S-38 flying boat that flew from Honolulu to Hilo in three hours and 15 minutes. After the schedule changes are complete, Hawaiian will operate 36 nonstop flights from Maui on peak travel days.
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