Hawaiian Airlines will start flying non-stop between Auckland and Hawaii, three times weekly from March next year.

It will be the only United States airline to fly to New Zealand.

The flights will provide significant new holiday options for Kiwis, increasing opportunities to fly to Honolulu and providing same carrier connections to the neighbour islands of Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island, and services to 11 destinations on the US mainland, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York.

The airline said market research indicated that Hawaii was an underserved market for New Zealand, as tourism figures show there are currently 30 per cent fewer visitor arrivals coming from New Zealand than in 1999 when there were more nonstop flights between the two destinations.


Air New Zealand offers direct services between New Zealand and Hawaii.

In May, Air New Zealand announced a 50 per cent increase in capacity on Auckland-Honolulu to three times a week and also that it will be operating both Boeing 777-200 and 767-300 aircraft on this route.

Hawaiian Airline's new service will add more than 40,000 seats a year between Auckland and Honolulu.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said the announcement was a significant step in improving visitor arrivals from the United States and strengthening relations between the two countries.

"The United States is a vital market for New Zealand leisure and business travel, and is a key focus for our marketing efforts given the significant potential for growth that exists. The ability to connect through Hawaii will provide a critical link for converting those considering travel into actual bookings," Bowler said.

"The timing of this new service is ideal as the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will heighten interest in New Zealand and no doubt whet Americans' appetite for travel here," he said.

Auckland Airport general manager aeronautical commercial, Glenn Wedlock, said that the announcement opened up a number of terrific opportunities.

"This new service will not only help grow the attractive Hawaiian market across a number of islands, but also will offer connections to a wide range of great city destinations in the mainland United States and New Zealand," he said.


"Hawaii is a very popular holiday spot for many Kiwis, plus we think that the dual destination combination of Hawaii and New Zealand offers exciting inbound leisure options for mainland United States visitors. Hawaiian is growing, and we're looking forward to working with the airline and its partners on this new service."

Hawaiian Airlines says all passengers from New Zealand will be entitled to a free checked baggage allowance of two items, each weighing up to 32 kilograms - in what it says is one of the most generous checked baggage allowances in the airline industry. Fares and schedule details will be announced at a later date.

Air New Zealand says it will continue to be the only carrier on this route where passengers can enjoy individual seat back inflight entertainment.