HONOLULU, January 15, 2004 -- Hawaiian Airlines announced today it has applied for government approvals with the United States and Australia to provide nonstop service to the land Down Under. Subject to these approvals, Hawaiian plans to begin service between Honolulu and Sydney on May 17.
"We're thrilled about bringing Hawaiian Airlines' award-winning service and the world's greatest vacation destination to Australia's travel market. Our service is designed with the traveler in mind, with convenient departure and arrival times and easy connections," said
Joshua Gotbaum, trustee for Hawaiian Airlines.
Hawaiian will fly four times weekly departing Sydney on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 9:30 p.m., and arriving in Honolulu the same day at 10:55 a.m.
The return flight will depart Honolulu on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and arrive in Sydney the following day at 7:30 p.m. Sydney is 21 hours ahead of Hawaii and travelers will cross the International Dateline.
"Our tourism liaison has been working closely with the airline industry to increase seating capacity to the Islands, and today's announcement by Hawaiian Airlines is welcome news," said Governor Lingle. "Having another airline offer direct service to Sydney will give travelers more options and provide greater opportunities for our visitor industry to expand the Australian visitor market."
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and chief operating officer, said, "Our new service will be an economic boost to Hawaii and the statewide tourism industry, adding seats to the destination and providing Australian visitors with lots of opportunities to make connecting flights to the Neighbor Islands. It also enhances access to Australia for Hawaii residents, and provides Hawaiian's passengers in West Coast markets with one-stop service to Sydney."
Hawaiian will fly the route with its Boeing 767-300ER wide-body aircraft. The twin-aisle, twin-jet B767 seats 252 passengers, 18 in First Class and 234 in Coach Class, featuring the comfort and convenience of a 2-3-2 seating configuration that offers either window or aisle seating to 86 percent of the passengers. Flight time will be approximately 10 hours.
Australian Tourist Commission Managing Director Ken Boundy said Hawaiian's new air service is great news for Australia's tourism industry. "The Australian Tourist Commission welcomes the additional air services to Australia, which will assist in boosting the number of U.S. visitors to our great country," said Boundy. "Hawaiian Airlines' new service will also open up Honolulu as a new gateway for U.S. travelers from the Pacific Northwest cities of Seattle and Portland to complement Los Angeles as a gateway to Australia – providing more options for travelers looking to choose Australia as the destination for their next vacation."
New South Wales Tourism Minister Sandra Nori welcomed the economic benefits of Hawaiian's service. "Sydney is the major gateway for international tourists to Australia and it is important that travelers to this country have a greater choice of carriers and hubs," said Nori. "We can expect these services to bring many more tourists out to see all Australia has to offer."
Hawaiian's service will add more than 1,000 seats per week (more than 54,000 seats annually) to Hawaii from the world's sixth largest country that, Dunkerley noted, is underserved. Presently, only Qantas at three times per week and Air Canada with daily flights provide commercial air service between Australia and Hawaii.
Hawaiian projects the new service will annually generate 34,000 visitors for Hawaii, resulting in $42 million in visitor spending and $3.5 million in tax revenues.
According to the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), year-over-year seat capacity in 2003 from Australia to Hawaii declined by 14.3 percent compared to 2002.
In addition, Hawaii received 91,911 visitors from Australia in 2002, a sharp drop from the 228,507 visitors of a decade earlier in 1992. In years thereafter traffic from Australia steadily declined, primarily due to major carriers discontinuing stopovers in Hawaii and providing nonstop service between Australia and the West Coast. Previously, Australian travelers would often use the stopovers as an opportunity to visit the islands.
Hawaii's visitor industry stands to benefit from Hawaiian's increased service as a result of Australia's robust economy and the strength of its currency, giving Australian travelers greater purchasing power of U.S. products. As of this week, the exchange rate had climbed to $.78 U.S. per Australian dollar.
About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines is recognized as one of the best airlines in America. Business travelers recently surveyed by Condé Nast Traveler rated Hawaiian Airlines as having the best in-flight service and meals of any U.S. carrier. Hawaiian was recently ranked fourth best in the nation overall by Travel + Leisure.
Founded in Honolulu 74 years ago, Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii's largest and longest-serving airline, and the second largest provider of passenger air service between Hawaii and the mainland U.S. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more mainland U.S. gateways than any other airline. Hawaiian also provides approximately 100 daily jet flights among the Hawaiian Islands, as well as service to American Samoa and Tahiti.
Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (AMEX and PCX: HA). Since the appointment of a bankruptcy trustee on May 16, 2003, Hawaiian Holdings has had no involvement in the management of Hawaiian Airlines and has had limited access to information concerning the airline.
Additional information on Hawaiian Airlines is available at www.HawaiianAir.com