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Hawaiian Airlines is expanding to another international destination. The state’s largest carrier will provide non-stop service to Beijing, China. But at the same time, the airline also plans to end service to Manila.
Hawaiian says it’s disappointed about ending service to Manila, which had been in place for the past five years.
But the company is already looking ahead to Beijing, where they say the opportunity is enormous.
Hawaiian is getting ready to tap into a market, where visitors to the state spend the most.
“Beijing and China service is something that we’ve been working on for a long time,” Hawaiian Airlines chief commercial officer Peter Ingram said.
In exactly one year, Hawaiian will launch non-stop service between Honolulu and Beijing, pending approvals by U.S. and China regulatory agencies.
Flights will be offered three times a week. It will be the only direct service between the two cities.
“This is a company of well over a billion people with increasing wealth and increasing ability for a middle class to travel,” Ingram said.
This gives Hawaii more exposure, bringing the total number of flights here to 954 a week. That’s among 20 different carriers from 54 airports across the globe.
“We always need to be mindful of what the price of an air ticket is to Hawaii and what the price is to stay here,” Hawaii Tourism Authority president and CEO Mike McCartney said.
That price did not help Hawaiian’s underperforming flights to Manila. The airline says low fares and high fuel prices hurt the carrier’s efforts.
“We worked very hard to make Manila a success, so it’s disappointing for us to us to discontinue service at the end of the summer this year,” Ingram said.
Hawaiian will make its final trip to Manila on July 31 and return on Aug. 1. The airline will accommodate customers who already have reservations after that, by making arrangements with other airlines. Those in the industry say Hawaii faces a lot of competition from other destinations.
“Our major market on the west and east, we need to continue to work on that,” McCartney said.
The new flight to China isn’t the only big news for Hawaii travelers.
Virgin America also announced on Wednesday that it’s looking to start service to Hawaii in 2015, but did not offer any further details.