Insight Hawaii Insight More flights headed to Hawaii in 2012 By Shane Nelson / February 27, 2012 Share 1 -- Hawaii tourism officials are projecting a significant increase in airlift to the state this year, boosted by additional nonstop flights from each of the destination’s major source markets. Nearly 10 million air seats are forecast to arrive in the Islands during 2012, an increase of 7.7% over 2011’s total, according to an Air Seat Capacity report released last week by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). “As an island state, airlift and access is essential for a thriving tourism economy,” HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney said in a statement. “The addition of 700,000 more seats into our state represents our collective efforts with industry partners to stimulate demand to the Hawaiian Islands.” More than 6.1 million of those seats are expected to arrive from the U.S. West, an increase of 4.7% year over year, while those from the U.S. East are forecast to climb 6.4%, to just over 770,000. “We were pleased to see increases across all of our major market areas, with the strongest showing in the 'Other Asia' market (China and South Korea), up 52.2% and providing close to 150,000 additional air seats,” McCartney said. Despite the Feb. 17 shutdown of Air Australia, which had launched the only nonstop service between Honolulu and both Brisbane and Melbourne in December, air seats from Oceania are expected to jump 21.6% year over year thanks to increased capacity by Hawaiian Airlines, Jetstar and Air New Zealand. New nonstop service from both Hawaiian and Delta Airlines makes up part of the 9.9% increase in seats HTA officials are predicting from Japan, Hawaii’s second-largest source market, while new flights from WestJet and Air Canada are expected to help boost flights from Canada by 11.3%. Although the prospect of such a substantial increase in airlift is certainly welcome news for Hawaii’s tourism industry, the destination is still recovering from the loss of Aloha Airlines and ATA. The addition of 700,000 new air seats in 2012 would only bring Hawaii to about 98% of its peak 2007 capacity.