numbers from Auckland topped 60,000 for the third straight year in 2016.
However, Dunkerley, at a birthday function yesterday, acknowledged Hawaiian Airways was faced with stiff competition when it came to onward flights to the US following the arrival of American Airlines and United Airlines as well as Air New Zealand’s direct flight to Houston.
This means the carrier has no immediate plans to up its weekly services, Dunkerley says. ‘We have observed a doubling of services to the market, which was underserviced when we came here. It will take a while to absorb the North America capacity but once it has, we will look at additional services.’
Russell Williss, Hawaiian Airlines’ country director for New Zealand, says about 15 to 20% of its passengers go on to the US – down from its top market share figure of around 30%.
But Williss says Hawaiian has begun to take back the numbers. Dunkerley agrees positivity is again surrounding the market, revealing the two top hitters among its 11 US mainland destinations for Kiwis are Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area.
‘It has been a very aggressive period but it’s coming to an end and is moving towards a more normalised environment.’
The CEO adds the carrier’s principal business of delivering flights between New Zealand and Hawaii is very good.
And while Kiwis were enjoying the neighbouring islands, Dunkerley says New Zealanders are also lapping up a higher level of service since the airline revamped its seating configuration in December. Under the change there are 18 lie-flat seats, Extra Comfort Seats were increased from 40 to 68 and Economy was reduced from 236 to 192.
‘Passengers are moving away from slimmed down services and wanting better quality of comfort, service and food,’ he says.