Continued demand from U.S. mainland routes helped Hawaiian Airlines move closer to recovery during the second quarter.
The airline, which operates under the publicly traded holding company Hawaiian Holdings Inc., reported a second-quarter loss of $6.2 million, or twelve cents a share. At this time last year, Hawaiian had a wider loss of $106.9 million, or $2.33 a share.
The carrier’s adjusted second-quarter loss this year was $73.8 million, or $1.44 a share. The carrier’s adjusted 2020 second quarter net loss was $174.7 million, or $3.81 cents a share.
The company reported second-quarter revenue of $410.8 million. Hawaiian said its revenue during the second quarter was down 42% compared to the second quarter of 2019, on 30% lower capacity. The results are a marked improvement over this time last year when second-quarter revenue fell to just over $60 million, a nearly 92% drop from the $712 million plus that it realized in the second quarter of 2019.
Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO, said during an investor earnings call today, “Our financial results were better than we expected at the beginning of the period, and well ahead of what we would have predicted at the beginning of 2021 —propelled particularly by strong demand on our U.S mainland routes. International recovery in the Pacific is clearly lagging, but we have every belief that when the rebound occurs it will be robust.”
At this time last year, Ingram was announcing plans to reduce staffing and increase liquidity after reporting significant second-quarter losses. Government containment policies in Hawaii played a role in severely depressing earlier travel demand.
“As passenger volume has returned, we have moved from downsizing to hiring in many parts of our business. In fact by the end of the year, it is likely that we will have swung to hiring mode for virtually all major work groups in our company,” Ingram said. “It is encouraging to us all to see a path towards growth even as the recovery still has some ways to go in parts of the business.”
Ingram said international travel has yet to come back.
Demand from North America has improved as officials loosened restrictions for domestic and interisland travelers on Safe Travels, Hawaii’s traveler entry program, in the second quarter of 2021.
Safe Travels policies for international travelers continue to be far more restrictive than for domestic travelers. Only international travelers from approved nations may bypass the quarantine through testing. The state still does not allow vaccination exemptions for international travel.
Ingram said Hawaiian continued to rebuild and expand its network, primarily in North America.
“In June 2021, Hawaiian’s North America traffic exceeded June 2019 levels,” he said. “During the second quarter of 2021, the Company operated at an average of 70% of its 2019 second quarter system capacity, comprised of 97%, 57% and 11% capacity on its North America, Neighbor Island and International routes, respectively.”
The company said that it anticipates continuing network rebuilding in the third quarter, “ driven primarily by North America and Neighbor Island flying, as the timing of international demand recovery remains uncertain.”