Hawaiian Airlines announced today that they will commence nonstop flights between Auckland and Honolulu, Hawaii, three times weekly from 14th March 2013, becoming the only US carrier to fly to New Zealand.
Auckland Airport General Manager Aeronautical Commercial, Glenn Wedlock, said that the announcement opened up a number of terrific opportunities.
“This new service will not only help grow the attractive Hawaiian market across a number of islands, but also offers connections to a wide range of great city destinations in the mainland United States and New Zealand. We believe the New Zealand travel industry will welcome more capacity and connections to Hawaii and mainland United States.
“Hawaii is a very popular holiday spot for many kiwis, plus we think that the dual destination combination of Hawaii and New Zealand offers exciting inbound leisure options for mainland United States visitors. Hawaiian is growing, and we look forward to working with the airline and its partners on this new service.”
The flights will provide significant new holiday options for Kiwis, increasing opportunities to fly to Honolulu and providing same carrier connections to the neighbour islands of Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island, and 11 destinations on the US mainland, including Las Vegas, New York and home of Silicon Valley, San Jose.
“New Zealanders are avid travellers and we believe the introduction of new nonstop flights with our winning brand of service will be welcomed in meeting pent-up demand for a Hawaii vacation,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO. “At the same time, our new service will offer Hawaii residents easy access to the natural wonders and Maori culture of New Zealand.”
Hawaiian’s market research indicates that Hawaii is an underserved market for New Zealand, as tourism figures show there are currently 30 percent fewer visitor arrivals coming from New Zealand than in 1999 when more nonstop flights were offered between the two destinations. In addition, New Zealand residents made more than one million trips to the South Pacific and Asia in 2011.
Hawaiian’s new service will add more than 40,000 seats each way annually between Auckland and Honolulu.
Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler welcomed the announcement as a significant step in improving visitor arrivals from the United States and strengthening relations between the two countries.
“The United States is a vital market for New Zealand leisure and business travel, and is a key focus for our marketing efforts given the significant potential for growth that exists. However, convenient air links are critical for converting those considering travel into actual bookings,” Mr Bowler said.
“The timing of this new service is ideal as the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will heighten interest in New Zealand and no doubt whet Americans’ appetite for travel here.”
Among the attractions of the gateway island of Oahu are world-famous Waikiki Beach, where surfing was invented, historic Pearl Harbour and the USS Arizona memorial, and a vast array of shopping and dining opportunities in Honolulu.
The neighbour islands, each served with frequent daily flights by Hawaiian Airlines, offer spectacular natural attractions including the active Kilauea volcano on Hawaii Island, the dormant Haleakala volcano on Maui and Kauai’s rainforests and breath taking Waimea Canyon, known as “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific”.
Travellers from New Zealand also have the option to make same carrier connections from Honolulu to a choice of 11 US mainland destinations – Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland, San Diego and Phoenix.
Hawaiian Airlines, a full service leisure airline, will operate its New Zealand flights with wide-body Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, seating 264 passengers - 18 in Business Class and 240 in Economy Class.
As well, all passengers flying Hawaiian Airlines from New Zealand will be entitled to a free checked baggage allowance of two items, each weighing up to 32 kilograms – one of the most generous checked baggage allowances in the airline industry.
Fares and schedule details will be announced by Hawaiian at a later date.
Auckland will be the eighth new destination to which Hawaiian has introduced service or announced new service to since November 2010, following Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Sapporo (October 30, 2012), Japan; Seoul, South Korea; New York City, and Brisbane, Australia (November 27, 2012).