In competition with larger rivals, Hawaiian makes its case for Haneda

03/5/2010 | MarketWatch

With more Japanese flying to Hawaii than to California, Hawaiian Airlines is battling the largest U.S. carriers for coveted slots at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. CEO Mark Dunkerley says the new service would not only help bolster the state's flagging tourist industry but also provide a bridge to the mainland for Japanese travelers. "We have the ability to connect a lot of customers," he says, noting that Hawaiian serves 16 U.S. cities. But despite the logic of its argument, airline analyst Henry Harteveldt believes Hawaiian faces an uphill battle against four much larger rivals. The competition for Haneda, he says, "is a game of musical chairs. With five airlines and four chairs, someone is going to go home unhappy."

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