Hawaiian Airlines hopes to step up the number of flights to New Zealand.

The Honolulu-based airline has been flying to Auckland for just on two years and president and chief executive Mark Dunkerley said it would weigh up increasing frequency from the current three return flights a week.

"There are no plans announced at this stage but over the longer term it's certainly our aspiration. If the traffic continues to grow I'm sure it won't take long before we're thinking about it," he said.

The airline, which has undergone rapid growth around the Pacific Rim during the past five years, was making "good money" on the Auckland route.


Its presence here has helped about double passenger traffic between Auckland and Honolulu as Air New Zealand responded by rejigging its schedule, adding more seasonal capacity and dropping fares. Fiji Airways also flies to Hawaii via Fiji.

"We're very much in a growth and development phase (in New Zealand) and looking forward to marginal improvements. It's about the overall level of traffic and whether we can further stimulate it by adding more capacity to a route," said Dunkerley in Auckland today.

Hawaiian's 294-seat Airbus A330s were up to 90 per cent full on the Honolulu-Auckland route during the school holiday peaks, he said.

New markets such as New Zealand were reviewed every six months.

The airline is adding three new Airbus A330s to its fleet this year, replacing two Boeing 767s, giving it one extra widebody plane for its Pacific Rim network.

"We've got some time to think about where we're going to deploy it. Right now we're in the thick of deciding what's going to work best," he said.

The outlook for fares would be determined by competition. Hawaiian didn't promote itself as the lowest fare airline but pushed the value message, said Dunkerley.

"When you're in a developing route one of the things you look at is when the peaks are and adjusting fares to meet times of high demand."


Most New Zealanders on Hawaiian flew to the islands for a holiday rather than flying on to its growing number of mainland destinations.

However, the fastest growing market was Americans flying south to this country, reflecting a growing awareness of Hawaiian Airlines' network and the improving United States economy, he said.

While the New Zealand dollar had fallen from its 88c high against the United States dollar around the middle of last year, Dunkerley said there had not yet been resistance from Kiwis to travel to the US.

"I think the US is still a good value destination. The change in the exchange rate means it's not quite as good value but that's not the same thing as saying it's poor value."