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Airlift to the Hawaiian Islands Forecasted to Grow During Third Quarter

The continued success of Hawaii’s tourism industry is dependent on air access to the Hawaiian Islands, which is forecasted to grow 4.9 percent to more than 3 million nonstop air seats during the third quarter of this year, with increases from the U.S. West (+4.7%), U.S. East (+7.2%), Japan (+3.0%), Canada (+30%) and Oceania (+13.2%). This brings airlift capacity to the state up to 8,930,073 seats (+6.6%) through September 2015.  

Hawaii’s core U.S. West market is anticipated to remain strong with an additional 84,000 scheduled seats between July and September, up 4.7 percent compared to the same period last year. The largest increases in inbound seat inventory will be from Los Angeles (+1.8%), San Francisco (+19.8%) and Seattle (+16.4%). 

Seat capacity from the U.S. East market will increase 7.2 percent to 242,040 seats, with the largest gains from Chicago (+28.3%, which includes additional United Airlines’ flights to Maui) and Atlanta (+20.4%, including Delta Air Lines’ seasonal aircraft up gauge from an Airbus A330 to larger Boeing 747). 

For the first time this year, air seats from Japan are expected to rise 3.0 percent to 518,465 seats during the third quarter with a second daily flight by All Nippon Airways and increased seat inventory from Delta Air Lines and Japan Airlines for flights out of Tokyo Narita. 

Canada reported the largest increase (+30% to 57,776) in air seats during the third quarter, typically a slower period for visitor arrivals from Canada, which tend to peak during the winter season. The service change-over from Air Canada to Air Canada rouge, which uses higher capacity aircraft, helped to grow seat inventory for its Vancouver to Honolulu and Kahului routes.  

Oceania is the second fastest growing region in terms of air seat capacity from July through September, with a projected increase of 13.2 percent to 127,067 seats. The largest increase from the market comes from Brisbane (+78.5%), fueled by the launch of Jetstar Airways’ flights and Hawaiian Airlines’ aircraft switch from a Boeing 767 to a larger Airbus 330. Jetstar Airways and Qantas are also expected to increase capacity from Sydney, contributing to a 7.6 percent increase in seats from this area. 

Following six years of nearly uninterrupted growth, scheduled air seats from Other Asia are expected to decline 6.2 percent to 129,214 seats during the third quarter. While air seat capacity from Beijing is expected to continue to grow (+20.6%), airlift from Shanghai will decrease (-5.3%) during the same period. Air seats from South Korea are also projected to decrease (-13.3%) in comparison to last year due to recent flight reductions by Korean Air. 

The HTA releases airlift outlook updates monthly.
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