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United Airlines cutting back on Washington, D.C.-Honolulu service

By Dave Segal

LAST UPDATED: 4:30 p.m. HST, Apr 8, 2013

  United Airlines is pulling back on its Washington, D.C.-Honolulu service less than a year after launching flights from the nation’s capital.

The Chicago-based carrier plans to reduce its daily service to five times a week beginning Aug. 12 and then on Aug. 31 will cut it back even further to just one day a week with Saturday-only flights. United plans to resume daily service on Dec. 19 and will do so until at least Jan. 6. It has not posted a schedule beyond that date.

“The reductions are during a traditionally slower travel period when there is less demand,” United spokeswoman Mary Clark said.

The market is more seasonal than United originally thought, according to Chris Kam, senior director of market insights for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

 “We watch passenger counts, and the load factors (percentage of seats filled) have not been as high as other markets,” Kam said. “It’s been in the 70 percentile where typically airlines try to get it up to 85 percent or more to keep a route economically viable.”

United began the route from Dulles International Airport in June at roughly the same time that Hawaiian Airlines inaugurated daily service to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

“So we had additional nonstops coming out of the eastern portion of the U.S. at the same time,” Kam said.

United also services Honolulu with daily flights out of Newark, N.J.

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