Hawaiian Airlines is halting one of its wide-body routes. We can provide some additional details, and also help look at whether other routes are on the Hawaiian chopping block.
The route in question is between Honolulu and Orlando, and the last day we find it flying is on September 4. Ticket holders for flights after that date have been notified. The Orlando route, which is among the longest domestic flights in the U.S., was first announced in December 2020 and began flights in March 2020.
Hawaiian has been using its wide-body, 278-seat, A330 aircraft for the Orlando route. At the time of the announcement, the carrier saw Orlando as one of the biggest domestic travel markets without direct Hawaii flights. It also saw the potential to send “amusement-park-limited” Hawaii residents to Florida. When service was announced, it was the third east coast route for Hawaiian, following New York and Boston.
Are other routes on the chopping block?
We don’t have any inside information, but we see data points that provide a good indication of how well Hawaiian routes are performing. The two other routes we see as potentially being culled are as follows:
1. Austin to Honolulu. The Austin route started in April 2021 and has been operating twice weekly. The problem is that pricing on the route is to a large degree less than $500 roundtrip. That is not a sustainable level in our opinion. By way of comparison, American’s nonstop route from Dallas to Honolulu earns them on average twice as much money. And the same is true of United’s Houston to Honolulu nonstop.
2. Boston to Honolulu. It’s been four years since Hawaiian began nonstop service between Honolulu and Boston, which is the longest domestic route in the U.S., at 5,095 miles. It started five times per week and unfortunately is now down to just three times a week. Rates on average on this route appear to be unsustainably low.
Boston flights started on the airline’s 90th anniversary and were dubbed Flight 90 for that reason. When it commenced, the company said “Boston is the largest U.S. market without nonstop service to Hawaii.”
Beat of Hawaii thoughts.
We said at the time that Boston to Honolulu was announced that “we were surprised to see Boston as the next non-west coast addition for Hawaiian. Frankly, we’d have more expected and still anticipate the likes of Atlanta, Chicago, Montreal, Philadelphia, Toronto, or Washington, among eastern options. On the other hand, part of the decision could relate to the fact that a number of those have direct competition, while Boston does not.”
It isn’t clear how Hawaii plans to utilize the A330 wide-body aircraft that could be freed up. The airline is anxious to fully resume its international routes, where delays post-Covid are still hindering their full recovery.