Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

A report released Feb. 4 by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism predicts a 12.7% drop in scheduled airline seats to Hawaii between February and April compared with the same period last year.

These numbers are just another in a seemingly mounting collection of ominous tidings for Hawaii's tourism industry. The DBEDT released a report Jan. 28 announcing that spending from visitors arriving by air in 2008 plunged $1.2 billion compared with 2007's figures.

The Feb. 4 report predicts a 14.8% overall decline in airline seats from the mainland. Seats from the eastern U.S. will be down 25.2%, while those from the West will drop 12.9%, according to the estimates.

Sharp declines from California are expected. Los Angeles' numbers are expected to slip only 7.6%, but San Diego will drop 62.9 %. Sacramento will decline 32%, while Oakland's totals are expected to fall by 66%.

Seats from Las Vegas are expected to slide nearly 20%.

For foreign markets, numbers from Japan are expected to be down 6.3%; Sydney, off 12.8%; and Vancouver, down 21%.

There were a few bright spots, however. Flights from Auckland, New Zealand, are projected to climb 10.2%. Alaska's Anchorage seat totals are expected to jump 46.5%, and Denver should see a rise of nearly 17%.

The DBEDT report is based on information in the Official Airline Guide flight schedules for January 2009.

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