Hawaiian Airlines to Boost Visitor Arrivals from North America

Tourism New Zealand today welcomed the announcement from Hawaiian Airlines that it will commence nonstop flights between Auckland and Honolulu, Hawaii three times weekly from March 2013.

The announcement from Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and CEO makes Hawaiian Airline's the only US carrier to fly to New Zealand.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says the airline's entry into New Zealand is as a significant step in improving visitor arrivals from the United States and strengthening relations between the two countries.

"The United States is a vital market for New Zealand leisure and business travel, and is a key focus for our marketing efforts given the significant potential for growth that exists.

"Visitor arrivals from the US for the year ending May 2012 stood at 182,972 - a drop of 3.3 per cent on the year ending May 2011.

"This year, we elevated the United States to a Tier One market meaning we will invest in the full range of marketing, PR, trade and digital campaigns.

"The ability to connect through Hawaii will provide a critical link for converting those considering travel into actual bookings.  The announcement of a new airline choice for potential travellers is great news.

"These flights will provide a significant new conduit for tourist travel from the USA to New Zealand, with nonstop flights from Honolulu to Auckland, and one-stop connections from 11 destinations on the US mainland, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York.
"The timing of this new service is ideal as the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will heighten interest in New Zealand and no doubt whet Americans' appetite for travel here."

Hawaiian's new service will add more than 40,000 seats annually between Auckland and Honolulu.

Hawaiian's market research indicates that Hawaii is an underserved market for New Zealand, as tourism figures show there are currently 30 percent fewer visitor arrivals coming from New Zealand than in 1999 when more nonstop flights were offered between the two destinations.

Auckland Airport General Manager Aeronautical Commercial, Glenn Wedlock, said that the announcement opened up a number of terrific opportunities.

"This new service will not only help grow the attractive Hawaiian market across a number of islands, but also will offer connections to a wide range of great city destinations in the mainland United States and New Zealand including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland, San Diego and Phoenix. 

The New Zealand travel industry has been calling for more capacity and better connections on this route for some time, so this announcement will be welcomed with open arms.

"The dual destination combination of Hawaii and New Zealand offers exciting inbound leisure options for mainland United States visitors."

Auckland will be the eighth new destination to which Hawaiian has introduced service or announced new service to, since November 2010.