Hawaiian Airlines has fired a price shot this holiday season on what will be one of the most intensely competitive routes for Kiwi travellers next year.

The airline is today advertising return economy fares from Auckland to Honolulu for $618 for travel in February and March as it gears up to put more capacity on the popular route to Hawaii. Booking runs through to January 4.

While some Black Friday fares in November did dip below $600, these were partly subsidised by travel agents.

Five years ago return airfares to Hawaii were typically around $2000.


The airline has since 2013 flown three times a week and from March next year will substantially boost capacity to five times a week.

That announcement of more seats triggered an immediate response from Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand will operate an additional 94 return services in the middle of next year, moving to daily flights and up to nine services per week during the busy July school holiday period.

That will add almost 60,000 more Air New Zealand seats between Auckland and Honolulu from April to October next year, an increase of 75 per cent compared with this year.

In the year before Hawaiian's launch, fewer than 26,000 New Zealand travellers visited Hawaii, according to Hawaiian Tourism Authority figures.

Following Hawaiian's entry, visitor arrivals from Auckland nearly doubled to more than 50,000 in 2013 and topped 60,000 for the third straight year in 2016.

For the first six months of this year, the number of Kiwi visitors to the state increased by more than 6 per cent to more than 27,000, figures from the authority show.

Read more Where to next for Air NZ


Qatar Airways is this week also advertising cut-price deals to Europe for booking until January 7. Return fares on the airline, which operates the longest route from Auckland to Doha, start at $1435 to Dublin.

Emirates has announced return fares from New Zealand to the regions around its network, including Britain, Europe and Africa from $1599.

Airlines have typically promoted bargain fares during the ''early bird'' booking season later in January and early February but as competition intensifies the offers are coming out earlier.