Hawaiian Airlines reported another consecutive loss for the fourth-quarter as it grapples with a slow rebound in demand from one of its largest international markets.
Hawaiian Airlines is seeing a stalled comeback in one of its largest international markets: Japan.
Executives at the airline revealed in a call with analysts on Tuesday that it is slightly reducing its capacity for flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in the short-term as the carrier experiences a dip in outbound travel to Hawaii from Japan.
Brent Overbeek, Hawaiian’s chief revenue officer, said bookings from Japan in 2023 were at 50% of 2019 levels due to rising lodging costs in Hawaii and the strengthening of the U.S. dollar against the yen.
“The dual effect of the weaker yen and dramatic inflation in the cost of Hawaii hotels means that we expect the return of Japanese travelers to be gradual, at least until one of those headwinds changes,” Overbeek said during the call.
And while Hawaiian hopes for a rebound from Japan, the carrier is also awaiting the delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The carrier plans to start operating the plane on routes from Honolulu to Los Angeles and San Francisco in the spring.
During the call, Hawaiian CEO Peter Ingram reiterated his support for the carrier’s merger with Alaska Airlines, which is expected to take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to close. After a federal judge struck down the JetBlue-Spirit merger in January, it’s unclear what regulatory landscape Alaska and Hawaiian will face as they await approval from the Justice Department.
“We have immense confidence that we can compete on our own, but the acquisition by Alaska is an even better outcome for consumers, employees and the communities of our home state of Hawaii,” Ingram said.
Hawaiian reported a fourth-quarter loss of $101.2 million and a full-year loss of $260.5 million. The carrier also had a fourth-quarter operating revenue of $669.1 million and a full-year operating revenue of $2.72 billion.
Ingram said Hawaiian is prioritizing a return to consistent profitability in 2024 — the carrier hasn’t been profitable since the pandemic.
“What we have not done yet is return to consistent profitability, and we will not be satisfied until we accomplish this goal as well,” Ingram said.