Slow demand to halt Hawaiian Airlines' Taipei flights
By Kathryn Chiu, The China Post
March 7, 2014, 12:09 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Hawaiian Airlines is suspending its non-stop service to Taiwan in April and reassigning that route's 294-seat Airbus 330-200 aircraft to its non-stop service to Seoul, saying the increase in demand it anticipated after a change to U.S. visa rules hasn't materialized.
This comes on the heels of Hawaiian Airlines, the eighth largest U.S. commercial carrier, announcing it will be suspending its flights to Fukuoka, Japan this summer.
"The increase in travelers we had come to expect when the U.S. visa waiver was extended to additional countries has not materialized in Taiwan, and it became evident very quickly that there is insufficient awareness of Hawaii among residents of Taiwan for non-stop service to be successful," Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Airlines, said in a company statement.
The 294-seat Airbus 330-200 aircraft currently flying the route will be reassigned to the airline's more popular service serving Seoul, according to the Central News Agency (CNA).
Now in its 85th year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawaii's biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland, according to the company's website.
Hawaiian Airlines Flight HA807 will operate its final flight from Honolulu to Taipei on Sunday, April 6. Return Flight HA808 will operate for the final time on Monday, April 7 from Taipei to Honolulu. Hawaiian Airlines' reservations department will be contacting passengers booked to fly after that date to accommodate them on other airlines.
Also in April, Hawaiian Airlines will launch three-times-a-week service to Beijing, China, subject to government approval — a route the U.S. carrier is confident will become one of its fastest-growing in Asia even as competition from Chinese rivals heats up.
The eighth largest U.S. commercial carrier is seeking to cash in on the popularity of Hawaii with wealthy Chinese holiday makers who have been visiting the tropical state in droves over the past few years, thanks in part to speedier visa procedures.