Hawaiian Airlines chief executive Peter Ingram believes the airline reached an important inflection point on its road to recovery during the first quarter.
The airline on Tuesday reported a net loss of $US60.7 million for the first quarter of 2021 as revenue slumped 72 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019 to $US182 million.
But Ingham said the airline had seen an encouraging rebound in demand despite the continued challenges posed by COVID-19.
“Bookings in North America improved materially as we began to realize the pent-up demand for leisure travel after a year of lockdown,” Ingram said.
“I am more optimistic each day about our progress as we rebuild our network and capitalize on the resilience of Hawaii as a post-pandemic vacation destination.”
Hawaiian expects to continue to rebuild its network in the second quarter as is predicting a sequential improvement in revenue, driven primarily by North America.
The state of Hawaii has introduced a program called Safe Travels, which allows incoming passengers to avoid quarantine with evidence of a COVID-19 test unless there are country-specific requirements.
The program has assisted Hawaiian in rebuilding and expanding its network in North America and saw it operate in the first quarter at just over half its capacity in the first quarter of 2019.
This translated to 73 percent of capacity to and from North America, 38 percent of neighbor island traffic and 12 percent of international capacity.
The airline launched four new North American routes in March and April and this summer will expand frequencies on routes that are flying less than daily frequencies.
These include services to Long Beach and Ontario, California: Orlando, Florida; Ontario, Canada; and Austin, Texas.
Hawaiian also plans to start a four-times-weekly service between Maui and Phoenix, Arizona, in May.
In terms of onboard service, Hawaiian plans in June to bring back more of its signature onboard services, including drink service, complimentary Koloa Breeze cocktails, and a curated assortment of alcoholic beverages and snacks for purchase.
This is in addition to the complimentary meals it has served throughout the pandemic.