Hawaii Tourism Authority Releases Airline Seat Capacity Outlook

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the state's tourism agency, has released its Airline Seat Capacity Outlook Report for the first quarter of 2012. The HTA's projections are based on flights appearing in OAG and Sabre airline schedules as of December 2011.

* Fueled by capacity increases from the U.S. West, Japan, Canada, Oceania, China and South Korea markets, total scheduled nonstop air seats to Hawaii are expected to rise 3.8 percent over the same period last year.

* Air seat capacity in the U.S. West market is expected to expand 0.9 percent in the first quarter, fueled by a 3.0 percent increase in the number of flights. However, this growth will be offset by a 21.4 percent decrease in seats from the eastern region of the country. The majority of the decline in seats from U.S. East results from the suspension of flights from Minneapolis and reductions in service from Chicago and Houston. Overall, air seat capacity to the U.S. is anticipated to contract 1.8 percent in the first quarter.

* Scheduled air seats from Japan are expected to increase 5.2 percent in this quarter, driven upwards by an 18.1 percent increase in seats from the Tokyo-Haneda route and a 62.4 percent increase in seats from Osaka. Furthermore, Delta Air Lines' new flight from Fukuoka to Honolulu will contribute to the expected growth in this market.

* First quarter seat capacity from Canada is expected to rise 28.2 percent, with the year-over-year growth in seats to the state fueled by an increase of service from Vancouver by WestJet, and by adding additional service from Calgary and Edmonton by WestJet.

* New Asiana Airlines service and increased service by Hawaiian Airlines and Korean Air are expected to grow first quarter scheduled seat capacity on the Incheon-Honolulu route by 41.8 percent.  In addition, the China Eastern Airlines' twice-weekly scheduled Shanghai-Honolulu service continues to serve as a vital link between Hawaii and the rapidly expanding China market.

* Air Australia's new Brisbane-Honolulu and Melbourne-Honolulu routes, will add 18 new flights monthly and are expected to fuel a 78.3 percent first quarter increase in seats from Australia. Meanwhile, service from Sydney is expected to soar 40.4 percent, driven upwards by a nearly doubling of Hawaiian Airlines' flights on the route, and an increase in service by Jetstar Airways. Finally, with a 3.1 percent increase in seats from New Zealand, overall seat capacity from Oceania is expected to rise by 68.4 percent in the first quarter.

* Scheduled air seats to Lihue are expected to climb 25.8 percent, boosted by direct service from Oakland and San Jose. The other Neighbor Island airports will also see increased capacity with Kahului increasing 5.8 percent and Kona 4.4 percent. A new flight, launched from Los Angeles and San Francisco in June 2011, will provide an estimated 16,328 seats into Hilo during the first quarter of 2012.

In a statement, the HTA's president Mike McCartney said that the increase in air seats is an indicator of strong demand for Hawaii, and the HTA anticipates continued year-over-year growth for Hawaii's tourism economy. "With upcoming events, such as the Pro Bowl, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and the Sony Open in January and the Hawaiian Islands International Soccer Tournament in February, we look forward to further increasing our national and international exposure to sustain the momentum in Hawaii's visitor industry through 2012."

Visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org

Suggested Articles:

The outdoor experience at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas combines a resort pool, dayclub, The Promenade and Event Lawn. See more here.

Peru is beginning its tourism reactivation on November 1, including the opening of Machu Picchu and the resumptions of flights from the U.S.

Tourism commissioner Joseph Boschulte attributes much of the success in attracting visitors to the existence of the Travel Screening Portal.