POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 20, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 2:26 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011
Hawaii is turning into Alaska Airlines' home away from home.
The Seattle-based carrier, which flies 17 percent of its schedule to Hawaii, said Tuesday it is expanding service between San Diego and the islands with a daily nonstop flight to Honolulu beginning Nov. 17. The new flight complements Alaska's Kahului-San Diego daily service, which began in October.
"Hawaii has been a very successful market for us," Alaska spokesman Paul McElroy said. "San Diego not only has leisure travelers, but a large Navy base. And there's a Navy base in Honolulu, of course, so we hope to pick up traffic there."
Alaska's new service will compete with Hawaiian Airlines, which is the only other carrier that offers daily nonstop flights between Honolulu and San Diego. Hawaiian operates a 264-seat Boeing 767-300ER on the flight.
"The success of Alaska Airlines' flight from Kahului to San Diego … shows there is continued demand from that region," said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. "These additional air seats will help continue Hawaii's momentum in our tourism economy."
Alaska, which operates a 157-seat Boeing 737-800, will bring an additional 1,099 seats a week into Hawaii with the new service. HTA estimates the Honolulu route will generate up to $58 million in annual visitor spending and $6 million annually in tax revenue.
The new flight will leave Honolulu daily at 3:40 p.m. and arrive in San Diego at 11:15 p.m., and leave San Diego daily at 9:15 a.m. and arrive in Honolulu at 1:15 p.m.
Alaska currently offers 105 flights a week to Hawaii from eight destinations. When the new Honolulu-San Diego service starts and other seasonal flights are added, Alaska will have 129 weekly flights to the islands.
"We offer more flights during the winter between certain city pairs because more people want to visit Hawaii when it's colder on the mainland," McElroy said.
Besides San Diego, Alaska flies to Hawaii from Anchorage, Alaska; Bellingham, Wash.; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and the California cities of Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento.