Carrier expands West Coast service
By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Rick Daysog
Hawaiian Airlines is ramping up its service to the West Coast.
The state's largest airline said it will add 21 round-trip flights a week to the Mainland starting this fall, increasing the total weekly round-trip flights to 116.
The airline also plans to recall 22 furloughed pilots and hire 100 new flight attendants to staff the new flights.
"This expansion allows us to bring back more of our furloughed employees, which is an important goal," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and chief executive officer.
The move comes as Hawaiian has faced increased competition on its Mainland routes from large U.S. carriers. Last year, US Airways began flights to Maui from Phoenix, and Delta Air Lines added an Atlanta-to-Honolulu route.
The expansion includes:
Hawaiian, which emerged from bankruptcy protection last June, initiated or was the dominant carrier on many of the West Coast routes, Dunkerley said. During Hawaiian's two-year reorganization, the local airline lost some ground on those routes to its Mainland competitors, the airline said.
Dunkerley noted that customer demand on the West Coast routes has remained strong. He added that the expansion is being made possible by the airline's plans to purchase four Boeing 767-300 jets from Delta for $31.8 million, first announced in February.
The new planes will increase Hawaiian's trans-Pacific fleet from 14 to 18 aircraft. Dunkerley added that Hawaiian's West Coast expansion doesn't bar the company from developing new routes to the Mainland and to international destinations.
Hawaiian has expressed interest in flying to China but last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation rejected the local airlines' request to operate the lucrative routes and selected American Airlines and Continental Airlines instead.
Shares of Hawaiian Holdings, the airline's parent company, rose 29 cents yesterday to $3.88 on the American Stock Exchange.
Reach Rick Daysog at email@example.com.