HONOLULU, Hawaii – As an island state, Hawai’i is dependent on the airline industry to provide adequate airlift to and from the Hawaiian islands that supports the foundation of the visitor industry, but more importantly allows for the overall growth in commerce. Through the Hawai’i Tourism Authority’s (HTA) air access program, the HTA monitors airlift and works on air service development initiatives aimed to stabilize and increase air service to the state, and is pleased to announce that Hawai’i will see additional flights from Asia beginning in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Sun Plus, an international charter broker based out of Tokyo, will be providing 21 direct charter flights (6,132 additional air seats) from various cities in Japan to Honolulu from November 13, 2011-January 3, 2012. The charter flights will mainly operate out of regional cities that do not currently offer direct service to Hawai’i, including Hiroshima, Sendai, and Kumamoto. The HTA projects that the charter flights, operated by Portugal-based airline Luzair, will provide an estimated US$9 million in visitor expenditures.
In addition, Delta Air Lines announced yesterday that it will launch nonstop seasonal service from Fukuoka and Honolulu, beginning December 28. This will be the only direct scheduled flight from Fukuoka, located on Kyushu Island.
“Following the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March, many airlines temporarily suspended flights from Japan to Hawai’i,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA, “These flights are a sign that Japan is recovering and highlights pent up demand for travel to our islands, especially from cities that currently do not have direct flight access.”
Hawai’i will also see an increase in air service out of the Korea market. Asiana Airlines will launch direct service from Incheon, South Korea, to Honolulu beginning September 18. The flights will operate twice weekly, and will provide an estimated US$48.5 million in annual visitor expenditures and US$5.3 in annual tax revenue.
“Korea has been a growing contributor to Hawai’i’s tourism economy, and we project an increase of 47 percent in visitor arrivals in 2011,” added McCartney, “There continues to be growing demand to visit the Hawaiian Islands, and we anticipate seeing more flight activity coming out of Asia in the near future.”