Hawaiian Airlines is launching three-times-weekly, non-stop service between Honolulu and Auckland in New Zealand on March 13, 2013. According to Hawaiian, it will be...

Hawaiian Airlines is launching three-times-weekly, non-stop service between Honolulu and Auckland in New Zealand on March 13, 2013.

According to Hawaiian Airlines, it will be the only U.S. carrier flying to Auckland, which is New Zealand’s largest city.

The company’s market research indicates that Hawaii is an under-served market for New Zealand, as tourism figures show there are currently 30 per cent fewer visitor arrivals coming from New Zealand than in 1999, when more non-stop flights were offered between the two destinations.

In 2001, for long-haul Boeing 767-300ER operations, Hawaiian Airlines became the first airline without prior ETOPS (extended-range, twin-engine operations) experience to gain 180-minute ETOPS approval from the FAA. This meant its aircraft could fly routes over ocean or remote territory where the nearest diversion airport was 180 minutes' flying time away from the aircraft's track

In addition, New Zealand residents made more than one million trips to the South Pacific and Asia in 2011.

Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines’ new service will add more than 40,000 seats annually between Auckland and Hawaii.

“Hawaiian Airlines’ entry into the New Zealand market is more positive news for Hawaii’s tourism economy, with the potential to bring in up to an estimated $50 million in annual visitor expenditures and $5.4 million in tax revenue,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

According to HTA, the New Zealand market is a strong source of visitors for Hawaii. In 2011, Hawaii received 20,730 arrivals from New Zealand – an increase of 15.4 per cent compared to 2010 – which were responsible for generating $38 million in visitor expenditures. Year-to-date through May 2012, arrivals from New Zealand have increased by 5.1 per cent year-over-year.

“This new service will help not only to grow the attractive Hawaiian market across a number of islands, but also will offer fantastic and conveniently timed connections to a wide range of great city destinations in the mainland United States and New Zealand,” said Glenn Wedlock, Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical commercial.

“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,” added Wedlock.

Hawaiian Airlines has 12 long-haul Boeing 767-300ERs and four shorter-haul 767-300s in its fleet, but by 2020 these are all likely to be replaced in service by Airbus A330-200s and A350-800s

Hawaiian Airlines will operate its Auckland-Honolulu flights using its fleet of Boeing 767-300ER widebodies, each aircraft seating 264 passengers – 18 in Business Class and 246 in the Main Cabin.

The airline says it will announce its flight schedule and the start date for ticket sales for the new Auckland service at a later date.

New Zealand is similar in size to Japan and is comprised of two main islands, the North Island, where Auckland is located and most of the country’s four million residents live, and the South Island. The country is known for its beautiful and diverse landscapes, including golden-sand beaches, rainforests, fjords, and glaciers.

Auckland will be the eighth new destination that Hawaiian has introduced since November 2010, following Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Sapporo (service begins on October 30) in Japan; Seoul, South Korea; New York JFK; and Brisbane, Australia (with service starting on November 27).

Hawaiian’s growth into new markets and expansion of existing operations in North America has been fueled by its long-haul fleet renewal and expansion program, which began in June 2010.

Since then, the company has added nine new Airbus A330-200 aircraft to its fleet, and is scheduled to introduce five more A330s into service in 2013.

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