Hawaiian Airlines reducing number of Big Island flights

HILO — Hawaiian Airlines is reducing the number of flights between Honolulu and the Big Island starting next month.

Beginning July 1, the airline will eliminate one evening round-trip flight to and from Hilo International Airport each day, and one evening round-trip flight and one morning round-trip flight to and from Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport daily, an airline spokesman said in an email Monday.

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“We are taking flights out of periods that have enough frequency to allow us to maintain the robust schedule of flying that our residents, in particular, expect,” said Alex Da Silva, senior manager of external communications for Hawaiian Airlines.

In the wake of the eruption activity in lower Puna, Da Silva said the airline has seen an anticipated impact on interisland travel, particularly to Hilo.

“We haven’t quantified a decline in passengers because of the recent volcanic activity, as there are many factors that influence demand,” he said.

When the changes take effect, Hawaiian Airlines will still fly 14 round-trip flights between Honolulu and Hilo, between 5 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., and 21 round-trip flights between Honolulu and Kailua-Kona, between 5 a.m. and 9:50 p.m.

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“We have not seen operational disruption at our airports due to the volcano, and continue to encourage those who wish to visit Hawaii Island to do so,” Da Silva said.

When asked whether the flights would be added back to the schedule in the future, Da Silva said the airline will continue to monitor the situation, but focus will “remain on providing a robust flight schedule that meets the needs of our kamaaina and visitors.”