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Tourism Effects of Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Expected To Be Offset

Despite expected decrease in Japan arrivals, Hawaii airlift projections remain flat

Apr 06, 2011

An updated analysis of airlift projections for the state of Hawaii for the second quarter of 2011 shows that despite an anticipated decrease in airlift from Japan, the overall number of air seats should be relatively flat compared to the same period last year, according to projections released by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority.

This is an indicator that despite any changes following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, interest in travel to Hawai'i remains strong and mirrors the strategy of driving increased demand, and particularly from destinations such as the US West, Korea, and Australia.

"We understand that the situation in Japan is constantly evolving, and we will continue to evaluate the impact on airlift and provide this information to our marketing partners, Hawai'i's tourism industry, and the entire state," said Mike McCartney, HTA's President and CEO, "This is one way that the HTA can support businesses and other organizations in our community as they develop their plans to address the market conditions over the coming months."

HTA released its Airline Seat Capacity Outlook Report for April-June 2011 with projections based on flights appearing in OAG and Sabre airline schedules as of March 2011 and include adjustments for air service additions and suspensions following the events in Japan. The HTA forecasts moderate growth in total scheduled nonstop air seats to Hawai'i in the second quarter based on:

- Total scheduled nonstop air seat capacity to Hawai'i in the second quarter is expected to be relatively even (-0.4%) with prior year levels due to increases from US West, Australia, and South Korea that has offset the reductions in service from Japan and US East.

- Scheduled air seats from Japan are expected to decrease 10.5 percent in the second quarter, resulting from Japan Airlines (JAL) downsizing of its aircraft in the Hawai'i market from B747-400s to B767s, along with temporary reductions in JAL and Delta Air Lines flights following the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

- The reduction in scheduled service from Japan could be partially offset by Golden Week charter flights to Hawai'i scheduled to occur in late April/early May. These charters, operated by JAL and Korean Air, are expected to add more than 5,000 seats into the market.

- It is important to note that the reduction in service from Japan not only negatively impacts Japanese visitor traffic to Hawai'i, but also impedes travel to Hawai'i from other Asian markets, such as China, which travel to Hawai'i via Japan.

- Increasing seat inventories from Asia, Oceania, and Canada are expected to more than offset second quarter capacity reductions from Japan, edging Hawai'i's overall international seat count for the period to 3.5 percent above prior year levels.

- New service by Hawaiian Airlines and increased service by Korean Air are expected to more than double the number of available air seats to Hawai'i from South Korea.

- The doubling of Hawaiian Airlines flights from Sydney is expected to fuel a 43.5 percent increase in overall seats from Australia.

- Increases from Air Canada and WestJet are slated to grow second quarter capacity from Canada by 13.9 percent.

- On the domestic front, scheduled air seat capacity from US West is expected to rise 1.2 percent in the second quarter, boosted by an increase in service from San Francisco (5.6%), along with new and increased service from Oakland, San Jose, Denver, Phoenix, Bellingham, and Anchorage.

- In the second quarter, Continental Airlines will launch its nonstop service from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Hilo. The new flights will provide an estimated 3,925 seats into Hilo during the month of June. Hilo has not had nonstop air access to the US Mainland since ATA suspended service from Oakland in April 2008.

- The slight gain in US West capacity is offset by declining air seats from the eastern region of the nation.

- Scheduled nonstop seats from US East are expected to decrease 20.3 percent in the second quarter, with the majority of the year-over-year decline resulting from the suspension of flights from Charlotte, Detroit, and Minneapolis which slightly offset gains in service from Atlanta (3.4%) and Chicago (5.4%).

- At this point in time, total scheduled air seat capacity for the second quarter of 2011 is expected to be at 90 percent of same period in 2007, which included additional flights that supported three cruise ships providing service to Hawai'i.

For a copy of the complete Airline Seat Capacity Outlook Report for April-June 2011, please visit the Infrastructure Research page of the HTA's Tourism Research Division website: .

Despite expected decrease in Japan arrivals, Hawaii airlift projections remain flat
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Source: Hawaii Tourism Authority

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