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Despite crisis, Hawaiian Air sticks with plans for Japan

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Hawaiian Airlines reaffirmed its commitment to Japan yesterday and said it plans to go ahead with its new Hono­lulu-Osaka route despite the earthquake and tsunami in that country, which have prompted other carriers to cut back serv­ice.

“We have no plans to reduce our daily serv­ice to Tokyo (Haneda International Airport), and we remain committed to launching new serv­ice to Osaka beginning July 12,” Hawaiian President and CEO Mark Dunkerley said. “It is clear from our current results that we are seeing a significantly less severe downturn in traffic than is being reported by other companies in the airline and tourism sectors.”

Dunkerley said discussions with its travel partners in Japan indicate that they expect a recovery in bookings after a short interval.

He said that Hawaiian’s Tokyo serv­ice serves primarily Japan-originating travelers who appear to be more inclined to keep their plans than are non-Japa­nese residents who had planned travel to Japan.

“In the initial period following the earthquake, we saw a number of cancellations and no-shows, but this activity has largely dissipated,” Dunkerley said. “Current indications suggest a slightly less than 20 percentage-point decline in bookings over the next month compared to what we would have expected during this period.”

Dunkerley said the airline’s travel partners believe that, barring worsening conditions, a recovery in the Japan market could begin in May.

Hawaiian, which began serv­ice between Hono­lulu and Haneda on Nov. 17, said the route accounts for about 5 percent of the company’s revenue.

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