On Tuesday, Hawaiian turns its focus to the USA’s biggest market: New York. With the start of non-stop flights from JFK International to Honolulu through a JetBlue Airways code-share, the airline is entering its first major market on the East Coast.
“This is a major investment for them,” says Mann. “This, I would say, is a much riskier proposition.”
Analysts say if Hawaiian can make New York work, other East Coast destinations, such as Boston, where JetBlue has a strong foothold, could eventually be possible.
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and chief executive officer, says the airline is “taking the approach of one at a time.” “Our first priority is to make New York a success,” he says.
The airline faces competition in the New York area, notably from United Airlines, which operates a non-stop flight from Newark to Honolulu. It also has to sell Hawaii over other destinations such as Mexico, the Caribbean and parts of Europe that take less time to get to than the 10 hours to Hawaii.
“They are the underdog, make no mistake about it,” says Henry Harteveldt, an airline and travel industry analyst and co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group. “Against the marketing dominance that United and Delta have in New York, Hawaiian will have to work very, very hard to make itself known.”