We just came back from lunch with the Hawaiian Airlines team, and the new nonstop JFK-Honolulu flight was the buzz of the table.
"New York is an underserved market," President and CEO Mark Dunkerley said. To that end, the team planned the flights to fit the New York market, departing JFK at a reasonable hour in the morning and arriving in time to get in a few hours of sun on the beach. "It maximizes your vacation time," he explained, "and it minimizes the hassles. Nonstops are just more convenient.
A vacation begins when guests get on a plane, he said, and the airline needs to be able to sell Hawaii as destination in its own right. Executive VP and Chief Commercial Officer Peter Ingram agreed, noting that the flight attendants on Hawaiian Airlines flights use real flowers in their hair and their leis--no plastic allowed.
If the New York launch is successful, Dunkerley added, more East Coast markets might be added in the future.
Major news from Hawaiian Airlines this morning: Hawaii’s flag carrier will be launching daily nonstop service between New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Honolulu starting June 4, 2012, and is promoting the new service with introductory fares.
Starting June 5, 2012, Hawaiian Flight 51 will depart JFK daily at 10:00 a.m. and arrive at Honolulu International Airport at 3:00 p.m., in time to get settled and enjoy a first dip in the balmy Pacific and sunset on the beach.
The new route will be inaugurated from Honolulu the day before on June 4, with the departure of Flight 50 (“Hawaiian 5-0”). Flight 50 will depart Honolulu daily at 3:05 p.m. and arrive in New York City at 6:55 a.m. the following morning.
Hawaiian’s new flights from New York will add more than 107,000 new air seats annually to Hawaii’s tourism industry from the Eastern U.S., the state’s second-largest geographic source market for visitors.
“New York is an important part of our growth strategy. Hawaiian is the leading airline in Hawaii’s largest tourism market, the U.S. West Coast, and we are expanding in Hawaii’s third largest market, Asia. Adding service to the largest market in the Eastern U.S., Hawaii’s second largest tourism market, was a logical step,” said Mark Dunkerley, the airline's president and CEO.
Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said, “Hawaiian’s new service will generate an estimated $156 million in direct visitor spending and $17 million in state tax revenue annually for our tourism economy and will provide much desired direct air service to New York City making it more convenient and accessible for travelers from the East Coast. This flight is of strategic importance to promoting the Hawaiian Islands brand to our second largest market, and we look forward to welcoming our guests.”
Hawaiian will operate its New York-Honolulu route using its growing fleet of new Airbus A330- 200 aircraft that seat 294 passengers, with 18 seats in First Class and the remainder in Economy Class.