Hawaiian Airlines Connects, Lifts Hawai‘i’s Economy

Hawaiian Airlines stimulated $10.2 billion in economic activity in Hawai‘i – about 11% of the state’s gross domestic product – and was directly or indirectly responsible for 53,500 jobs statewide in 2022* despite enduring challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study.

The report, titled “No Kākou a Pau” (interconnectedness) to underscore the ways Hawaiian Airlines is connected to the economy of its home state, was commissioned by Hawaiian and produced by ICF, a global consultant with extensive experience in aviation and other industries.

“Following several years of uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is also a story of resilience. Hawaiian Airlines led through the uncertainty of COVID-19, keeping its people employed, continuing to support local industry and business, providing local jobs and training, and transporting cargo and supplies,” noted the report, which analyzed full-year data from October 2021 through September 2022.*

During this period, Hawai‘i’s hometown airline carried 9.4 million passengers to, from and within the islands (including 1.6 million visitors), supporting nearly one-third of the state’s 128,000 tourism-related jobs and generating more than $600 million in Hawai‘i state tax revenue.

A destination airline based in Honolulu for 94 years, Hawaiian directly employed more than 7,000 workers, 90% of them Hawai‘i residents. As it prepares for its next growth phase, the airline has invested in numerous workforce development initiatives and partnered with the University of Hawai‘i, Honolulu Community College, and Arizona State University to create opportunities for Hawai‘i students to pursue a rewarding aviation career.

Hawaiian, which pioneered commercial air service in the islands in 1929, continues to serve as the state’s de facto highway system in the sky by providing an unmatched network of flights for kama‘āina and visitors: it operated more than 19,500 daily interisland seats and carried 74% of all travelers between the islands over the 12 months covered by the report. 

The airline’s cargo operation – the largest of any passenger airline serving Hawai‘i – enables “business to transport goods to and from the Hawaiian Islands with speed and efficiency,” the report said. “Industries including healthcare, retail, hospitality, and agriculture are disproportionately reliant on Hawaiian Airlines’ air cargo services.”

Named by Forbes as the best employer in the state of Hawai‘i in 2022, Hawaii’s largest and longest-serving carrier provides nonstop flights within Hawai‘i, and between the islands and 15 U.S. gateway cities, as well as American Samoa, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Tahiti. This year, the airline’s economic contributions are expected to grow even further as it initiates service between Honolulu and the Cook Islands, resumes more Japan flights, welcomes a new fleet of Boeing 787-9 aircraft and launches a dedicated freighter operation for Amazon.

“From its very origin, Hawaiian Airlines’ story has been one of no kākou a pau – interconnectedness with the state of Hawai‘i. In 1929, its first Sikorsky S-38 aircraft took off from Honolulu bound for Hilo, stopping in Maui along the way. Today, Hawaiian Airlines is the most reliable way to travel across Hawai‘i, and its services fuel the state’s economy, driving impact for individuals and communities that are felt in all aspects of life,” the report concluded.

Image: © Hawaiian Airlines

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