With Japanese demand continuing to lag far behind pre-pandemic levels, Hawaiian has an abundance of capacity. To make use of this capacity and to, hopefully, shore up its financials, Hawaiian boosts domestic service for summer ’24, doubling down on some of its more popular routes.
Hawaiian is bleeding money, and as we know from its recent forecasts, this year will see it hemorrhage money at a much higher rate than anything we’ve seen since the pandemic completely shut down travel. Company executives point towards many reasons for their poor financial performance, including the Maui wildfires and slow recovery of Japanese travel.
In fact, Hawaiian hasn’t reinstated its full pre-pandemic Japanese network yet, with flights like HNL-CTS remaining suspended. That means they need to figure out different ways to utilize their growing fleet. And, at least for now, that means Hawaiian boosts domestic service for summer ’24.
Hawaiian Boosts Domestic Service for Summer ’24
Much of the seasonal changes we’re seeing as Hawaiian boosts domestic service for summer ’24 are additional frequencies for routes that have less than daily service today. But that’s not the case for all of them.
- Austin: increasing to four times weekly from May 24 to August 2. The additional flight operates on Friday as HA81/82
- HA81 AUS-HNL departs at 10:10 am CT, arrives at 2:50 pm HST
- HA82 HNL-AUS departs at 10:50 am HST, arrives at 10:10 pm CT
- Boston: increasing to five times weekly from May 23 to August 1.
- HA89 BOS-HNL departs at 8 am ET, arrives at 2:20 pm HST
- HA90 HNL-BOS departs at 3:15 pm HST, arrives at 6 am ET
- Las Vegas: increasing from four times weekly to daily for HA5/6, increasing HNL-LAS service to three times daily from May 24 to July 31
- HA5 LAS-HNL departs at 5:20 pm PT, arrives at 9:55 pm HST
- HA6 HNL-LAS departs at 7:50 am HST, arrives at 3:40 PT
- Los Angeles: increasing to four flights daily from May 24 to September 2
- HA77 LAX-HNL departs at 7:40 pm PT, arrives at 10:25 pm HST
- HA78 HNL-LAX departs at 9:30 am HST, arrives at 6:00 pm PT
- Pago Pago: increasing from two to three times weekly with a Wednesday frequency from May 22 to September 4
- HA66 PPG-HNL departs at 11:00 pm SST, arrives at 5:45 am HST
- HA465 HNL-PPG departs at 4:35 pm HST, arrives at 9:20 pm SST
It’s worth reminding that during this time, HA2/3 will be operated by Hawaiian’s new Boeing 787-9s. Unfortunately, these aren’t red-eye flights. That said, here’s to hoping that they transition these birds quickly to HNL-JFK and HNL-BOS once they’re finished with familiarization flights. That said, four daily flights on HNL-LAX is a f**k-ton of capacity, especially when you consider that Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, and United all operate on this route. Perhaps Hawaiian is hoping that the 737 MAX 9 groundings extend into the summer, as Alaska can’t currently operate this route regularly.
I also think that three daily flights between Honolulu and Las Vegas is a bit excessive, especially since Southwest is on this route, but it’s more understandable to me. I doubt many locals are switching to Southwest for this route, and Vacations Hawaii no longer charters with Omni Air so that the demand could be there. That said, it’s interesting that this seasonal flight will only operate for about a month.
So long as demand is sufficient to fill their planes, I think Hawaiian’s plans are sound. Still, though, news that Hawaiian boosts domestic service for summer ’24 on existing routes makes me wonder if one of these frames would’ve been better on their upcoming HNL-SLC route? Yes, I understand that there are concerns over their ability to fill a widebody on that route, but by deploying an A321neo for that service, Hawaiian is already putting itself at a disadvantage compared to the current HNL-SLC flights operated by Delta. But, oh well. We’ll see what happens!