Hawaiian Airlines said it will begin nonstop flights between Honolulu and Long Beach, Calif., beginning May 31 and that it finished 2017 by carrying a record number of passengers.
The state’s largest carrier said today it will use its new Airbus A321neo aircraft for the Long Beach flights. The narrow-body plane, which seats 189 passengers, will depart Honolulu at 12:30 p.m. and arrive in Long Beach at 9 p.m. The return flight, which will initiate from Long Beach on June 1, will leave at 8:30 a.m. and arrive in Honolulu at 11:40 a.m.
Hawaiian’s first flight with its A321neo aircraft debuted today with a flight from Kahului to Oakland, Calif. The airline will add service between Maui and Portland, Ore., on Jan. 18, followed by flights between Lihue and Oakland on April 11 and between Kona and Los Angeles in the summer.
The airline said it finished 2017 carrying a record 11.5 million passengers, up 4.1 percent from 11.1 million in 2016. It was the13th straight year that Hawaiian increased its passenger count. The airline’s load factor, or percentage of seats filled, for the year rose to 85.8 percent from 84.3 percent. Its revenue passenger miles, or one paying passenger transported one mile, increased 5.3 percent to 16.3 million from 15.5 million. And its available seat miles, or one seat transported one mile, rose 3.4 percent to 19 million from 18.4 million.
Hawaiian said strong bookings at the end of the year will boost its operating revenue per available seat mile in the fourth quarter. But it said its operating costs also rose due to higher-than-expected revenue-related expenses and the shift of certain operating expenses in 2017 that were originally expected in 2018.
The airline also said that it will record a one-time, non-cash deduction of $90 million to $140 million for income tax expense. It said the accounting adjustment is a result of the difference between rates in effect when income tax expense was accrued, and the rates expected to be in effect when the income taxes likely will be paid. The company said it will treat the estimated impact as a special item in its fourth-quarter financial results.
Hawaiian said the reduction is not a windfall but adjusts the amount that the company has estimated for long-term (25 years) depreciation of assets, particularly aircraft leases. It said the reduction is due to the expected effect of the tax cuts signed into law Dec. 23 by President Donald Trump that included a reduction in the federal corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent on Jan. 1.