It's been a busy month for Hawaiian Airlines: In November, they announced nonstop flights between New York and Honolulu (to begin in June, 2012), and earlier this week they announced increased service to both Sydney and Los Angeles.
On the heels of that announcement came news of the Neighbor Island Travel Plans, which offer discounts on flights between Lihue, Kauai, Kahului, Maui, and Hilo and Kona on Hawaii Island. Travelers can purchase one of four plans to suit their needs, from a package of four roundtrip tickets for the individual who makes occasional trips to visit friends and family or to explore the islands, to a bundle of 60 one-way segments for the frequent commuter.
"The growth we’re seeing now is part of a long-term plan Hawaiian has been working on—and toward—for years," Keoni Wagner, Hawaiian's vice president of public affairs told Travel Agent. The impetus for the increase in service is a new fleet of long-range planes that will replace and increase the airline's current wide body fleet with new Airbus aircraft over the next decade. "That transition has begun," he said. "We have five brand new Airbus A330 planes in service, with more coming in future years." These new planes will replace the Boeing 767 aircraft the airline has been using for decades, he added. The new planes have a longer range and are larger by 30 seats. "That’s why we’re taking steps into new international markets, like Japan, which hash been on our list of growth opportunities for many years. The combination of a new fleet and market conditions in Japan have lead us us begin expansion into Japan now. Asia is a big part of our future growth plans. It’s one of the fastest growing regions in the world, and it's a place that we’re familiar with in terms of visitors that come to Hawaii. We’re finding that they like our product when they get here and use us between the islands, so we developed international service." In April, he noted, the airline will add flights to Fukuoka in Japan as well.