DALLAS — Hawaiian Holdings, the parent company of Hawaiian Airlines (HA), announced that its 2022 fourth-quarter losses were minimal as demand for air travel to the Pacific islands has largely recovered, with the exception of Japan.
On January 31, the airline reported that it lost US$50.2m during the fourth quarter, a decrease from the US$92.6m loss it suffered in the fourth quarter of 2021 due to travel restrictions amid the pandemic. In total, the Honolulu-based carrier sustained a US$240m loss in 2022 compared with its US$145m loss in 2021.
The total revenue for the fourth quarter was US$731m, an increase from US$431m in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2021. The carrier stated that it had strong demand for air travel to the Hawaiian Islands from North America, South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia.
However, Japan, one of Hawaii’s most prominent tourism markets, has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels, as it is down by 87.3%. In 2022, only 199,760 travelers came to Hawaii from Japan, which is down from the 1.5 million travelers who came to Hawaii in 2019.
A Difficult Quarter
During the fourth quarter, Hawaiian struggled with its on-time performance at its hub at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) because of construction on its primary arrival runway. The construction has mainly affected the airline’s short-haul flights to neighboring islands.
The airline is also being pressured by Southwest Airlines (WN), which in April 2019 started flying inter-island Hawaiian flights. According to Hawaiian, it maintains an edge over WN on inter-island flights, even though Southwest often offers lower fares.
Hawaiian Chief Executive Officer Peter Ingram committed, “We continue to believe that our place in the community, our product and schedule, our knowledge of the guest and our fabulous employees give us structural advantages here that will enable us to win…We are Hawaii’s airline.”
He added, “I can’t project the timing of a return to profitability as precisely as I would like…We don’t control the timing of demand recovery from Japan.”
Starting this year, Hawaiian will start operating 10 Airbus A330-300 freighters on behalf of Amazon. Additionally, in the fourth quarter of 2023, the airline expects to receive its first of the 12 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners it has ordered. The airline currently operates a fleet of 59 aircraft consisting of 17 Airbus A321neos, 24 Airbus A330-200s, and 18 Boeing 717s.
Featured image: Hawaiian Airlines N209HA Airbus A321Neo. Photo: Andrew Henderson/Airways