Air New Zealand will add almost 60,000 additional seats between Auckland and Honolulu next year, which could lead to an airfare war on the increasingly popular route.

Hawaii is one of the high growth destinations for New Zealanders who are travelling in record numbers on holidays overseas as competition between airlines and travel companies increases.

Air New Zealand will operate an additional 94 return services between April and October, moving to daily flights and up to nine services a week during the busy July school holiday period.

Services will be flown by the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for most of the year, with a change to the Boeing 777-200 during the July and September holiday periods.


Hawaiian Airlines, which entered this market in 2013, said it was ready for more competition.

Hawaiian operates return flights up to four times a week and has just launched new tactical fares to Honolulu and outer islands starting at $497 one-way, for bookings before August 8.

The airline said its Auckland-Honolulu service reinvigorated interest in Hawaii as a destination.

"We observe airline competitor activity with interest and expect seasonal capacity shifts to occur, but we remain focused on our own plans. Hawaiian Airlines sees additional and sustainable growth continuing from Pacific Rim countries including New Zealand," said a spokesman.

When destinations boomed in popularity, other airlines sought to capitalise, he said.

"Hawaii is our home base and our speciality, and we look forward to welcoming a growing number of Kiwis."

Signs of more intense competition come as figures from the Hawaiian Tourism Authority show the number of Kiwi visitors to the state increased by more than 6 per cent to more than 27,000 in the first six months of the year.

Darragh Walshe of Hawaii Tourism said the extra flights over the school holidays would help push down fares.


"It has been competition and the associated additional flights that has brought the airfares down over the last few years. So this will add a further edge to the competitive environment. We have seen full flights over the school holidays which naturally drives airfares up."

Sean Berenson, Flight Centre NZ general manager product, said news of increased capacity could only mean good things for customers, providing more options and helping to drive competition.

''In recent years we've seen Hawaiian Airlines entering the market and increased capacity from Air New Zealand stimulate the market and drive competition on the route, resulting in increased accessibility and affordability.''

Fares through Flight Centre had dropped as low as $699 per person return when three years ago a similar fare would have cost around $2000.