Japan: One Of Hawaiian Airlines’ Most Important Markets

Hawaiian Airlines is well-known for carrying travelers from the mainland United States to Hawaii. This geography makes up the largest percentage of Hawaiian’s overall capacity. However, internationally, Japan is one of Hawaiian’s most important markets, and the airline is expecting the reopening of this market to help push it back to profitability. It remains unclear exactly when this will happen, however, Hawaiian has expressed confidence in its ability to come back strong.

Japan is a major market for Hawaiian Airlines, and it is looking forward to resuming operations to the market. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Hawaiian Airlines watches Japan

Speaking on the airline’s fourth-quarter earnings call, Brent Overbeek, Hawaiian’s SVP of Revenue Management and Network Planning, stated the following on Japan:

“Based on what we know today, we expect to ramp up our service to Japan in the second quarter […] There could be a further delay to our restoration of our international network as we remain uncertain about when Japan will fully reopen. While we can’t control the precise date when Japan will fully open; however, we will be ready to relaunch our international network as soon as policy conditions allow.”

The second quarter does not start until April 1st and runs through June 30th, covering much of the start of the busy summer season for travel. Hawaiian has traditionally dedicated a significant amount of capacity to Japan, as it is one of the top geographies for international premium leisure travel to Hawaii.

Hawaiian’s Japan Network

Using data from Cirium and looking at travel this summer, it paints a picture of what a full-fledged Hawaiian network to Japan will look like when restrictions lift. Below is a map of routes Hawaiian has loaded in its summer 2022 schedule:

Japan: One Of Hawaiian Airlines' Most Important Markets
Hawaiian’s network to Japan will cover five airports in the country. Photo: Cirium

Hawaiian has flights on the books to Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport (CTS), Fukuoka Airport (FUK), Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND), Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT), and Osaka Kansai International Airport (KIX) from Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport (KOA), with the following operations:

  • HNL to CTS sees three weekly flights
  • HNL to FUK sees four weekly flights
  • HNL to HND sees 18 weekly flights
  • HNL to KIX sees seven weekly flights
  • HNL to NRT sees seven weekly flights
  • KOA to HND sees three weekly flights

This schedule is actually larger than what Hawaiian had in summer 2019. Fukuoka rejoined the network in the fourth quarter of 2019, and Haneda to Honolulu saw only 11 weekly flights. Part of this includes a change in slot allocations in Haneda but also continued confidence in the strength of Japanese tourism to Hawaii.

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-243 N389HA (2)
All of Hawaiian’s flights to Japan operate on Airbus A330 aircraft. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Japan is important to Hawaiian

Hawaiian Airlines has a hub in Honolulu, but its primary motivation is not to connect passengers. Hawaiian’s model is oriented around flying people from destinations like Japan or the mainland United States to Hawaii. As a result, its restoration of capacity to Japan will largely revolve around the demand situation and restrictions that allow relatively unrestricted travel between the US and Japan.

Part of Hawaiian’s strategy is oriented around catering to premium leisure demand for travel to Hawaii. Japan is certainly a major market for premium flyers, and Hawaiian has historically held its own in a highly competitive market. Japan is expected to be a top target moving forward as Hawaiian takes Boeing 787 Dreamliners with a larger premium footprint.

Japan: One Of Hawaiian Airlines' Most Important Markets
Hawaiian’s existing business class on its Airbus A330s. The airline is a noted carrier of premium leisure travelers, and it sees Japan as a major market of premium leisure customers that it wants to serve. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

Just crunching the numbers, in the current July schedule, Hawaiian has 42 weekly flights between Hawaii and Japan, with 11,676 seats on offer. It only has three weekly flights on offer to Auckland (AKL), four to Seoul (ICN), one to Tahiti (PPT), and five to Australia in Sydney (SYD). In other words, Japan covers about 76% of Hawaiian’s weekly international departures and seat count.

It is clear that Hawaiian views Japan as a major market, and it is looking to restart operations there as restrictions allow it to. Currently, it is unclear when Japan will reduce its restrictions and what demand will look like, but Hawaiian remains confident in its ability to cater its network and operations to the market. Once Japan reopens, it is expected to be a major boost to Hawaiian’s financials coming out of the crisis.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.