LAS VEGAS – In a positive sign of an upward tick in air travel demand, Hawaiian Airlines (HA) resumed service to Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport (LAS) on October 2 with a once-daily Airbus A321neo service.

Commonly referred to by Hawaiians as “the Ninth Island”, Las Vegas is finally reclaiming the place it’s held on Hawaiian’s legendary route map since 1985. As stated above, right now service is limited to one daily A321neo each way, in daylight hours. The schedule is as follows:

  • HA7     Las Vegas – Honolulu      7:20AM    10:35AM
  • HA6     Honolulu – Las Vegas    10:55AM      7:40PM

It’s not a bad start, and as traffic continues to increase, we will hopefully see the return of the Airbus A330-200 and the resumption of the three daily flights HA had at its pre-COVID levels. What’s in limbo is the Honolulu-Kahului service that had begun in April 2019. That was only once a day with the A321neo, and loads were good since it started. Whether it returns or not remains to be seen. The A321neo seems to be a fantastic fit for HA serving the West Coast of the United States, a much better fit in more secondary cities than the Boeing 767-300ER did.

Announced along with the Las Vegas service was the resumption of passenger service from Honolulu to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT). HA has maintained flying to Narita with cargo-only flights on the Airbus A330-200 since June. Plans were also announced for resumption of service to Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC), California; as well as Phoenix/Sky Harbor (PHX), Arizona, in addition to Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO), California; and Seattle (SEA), Washington, the only three mainland cities that were not suspended.

Photo Credit: Author

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To make getting to Hawaii easier during these global pandemic times, HA is offering convenient drive-thru testing at Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO), beginning this month. There are two options for travelers, one available within 36 hours of departure, for a nominal fee of US$90 per person, or a day of travel express test for US$150 per person. HA hopes to have more cities available soon.

As with other US carriers that have had their operations and finances decimated by the pandemic, Hawaiian also felt the drastic bite of the Federal Payroll Support Program that expired on October 1. HA has shed 33% of its total workforce, amounting to 2,501 employees from all areas of the company.

In late August, HA raised a net US$259,366,140 in the form of two Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates, secured by six Airbus A321neo and two Airbus A330-200. The weighted interest rate for both certificates comes out to roughly 7.85%. Most of the other US Carriers have also done similar actions to keep flying through this year.


Featured image: Hawaiian Airlines. Photo: George Andritsakis