Media release by Hawaii Tourism Authority
Three of Hawaii’s Major Airports Honored Nationally
HONOLULU – Following a record-breaking year for Hawaii’s visitor economy, direct air access and the availability of air seats to the state will continue to be a top priority in 2013 for the Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency.
The HTA projects that 2013 total scheduled seat capacity is expected to climb 6.8 percent over last year, bringing the estimated total seats to 10.75 million, which would surpass the record high to the state. Double-digit growth is expected out of the U.S. East, Japan, Other Asia (South Korea, China and Taiwan) and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) regions. Contributing to the growth will be additional new routes from the U.S. and Asia-Pacific regions to the Hawaiian Islands from Boise, Spokane, San Diego, Taiwan, New Zealand and Tokyo-Narita commencing in the first half of the year.
“The success of our visitor industry has a direct correlation with the increased airlift and we are committed to ensuring that we maintain a strong inventory of air seats to support our industry and our state’s economy,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “Hawaii lost 1.5 million air seats within two years following the closure of Aloha and ATA airlines and the economic down turn. Through our efforts and collaboration with our industry partners, it has taken us more than three years to gain back more than two million air seats to our state.”
In recognition of Hawaii’s success in establishing new routes and increasing air seats to the Hawaiian Islands in 2012, three of Hawaii’s major airports – Honolulu, Kahului and Lihue – won three of the four US ANNIE Airport Awards for traffic growth presented by the prestigious Airline Network News & Analysis, an online publication and resource for the airline industry. The awards were based on statistics to determine which U.S. airports achieved the greatest increase in scheduled seat capacity and notable route and traffic related success. Honolulu International Airport was also recognized as a runner-up for having the most new international routes, behind Los Angeles International Airport.
“The recognition of three of Hawaii’s airports by the US ANNIE Airport Awards is a tremendous honor for the state, and a testament to the collaborative work by the airline and visitor industries contributing to the significant growth in airlift to the state,” said Ford Fuchigami, DOT deputy director of the airports division.
With an increase of nearly 800,000 air seats (+8.5%) in 2012 compared to 2011, the growth seen across the state is a testament to the efforts of the HTA, its marketing partners and the visitor industry, in distributing visitors across all the islands.
As an island state, air access is not only critical for tourism, but allows for greater opportunities for other industries to expand, as well as offering Hawai’i residents connectivity to visit family and friends or travel to new and exciting destinations.
“We will continue to work with our global marketing partners to ensure the success of our new and existing routes,” said David Uchiyama, vice president of brand management for the HTA. “It is also important for us to focus on driving demand during off-peak seasons and distributing visitors across all of the islands.”
International growth has been tremendous for Hawaii and is projecting a gain of 14.1 percent of international air seats to the state in 2013.
“With Taiwan’s recent entrance to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program and the new routes we’ve established throughout the Asia Pacific region, we anticipate growing our market share across the globe. The Asia and East Coast routes will allow us to reach new markets such as Southeast Asia and Latin America, and continue to expand our efforts in Europe,” added Uchiyama.
The HTA has set targets of reaching $14.88 billion in visitor expenditures and 8.16 million visitors for 2013, which would surpass the records set in 2012.