CHARLOTTE, N.C. (
) -- Barely three months after it inaugurated Charlotte-Honolulu service, US Airways has decided to suspend the flights at the end of the summer travel season, largely because of high fuel prices.
The service, which began Dec. 17, 2009, will end Sept. 8.
"Despite our efforts to make this flight a success, our forecasts show that we're simply not going to generate the revenue we need to continue operating the flight, so we're moving quickly to suspend it and focus on more profitable flying," said Mike Britman, managing director of network planning, in an employee newsletter.
"We expect the flight to do well during the busy summer travel season, but we no longer believe it is financially sustainable on a year-round basis," Britman said, noting that the move reflects the rise in fuel prices since the flight was announced last summer.
"Because CLT-HNL is a long-haul flight, fuel represents a much larger percentage of expenses than on other flights," he said. "The flight requires approximately 10 million gallons of fuel per year. Each increase of just 10 cents to the cost of a gallon of fuel adds about $1 million in expenses for us for this route."
The flight primarily serves leisure passengers taking discretionary trips, making it difficult to pass on costs to passengers, he said.
US Airways said that after reviewing the flight's summertime performance, it will make a decision whether to offer Charlotte-Honolulu as a seasonal flight next summer. In the meantime, the carrier will keep its twice daily service from Phoenix to Honolulu and Maui, instead of making a planned reduction a once-daily service on the two routes.
When US Airways announced the service in June, 2009, Britman
dismissed a reporter's skeptical characterization of the route, saying: "We don't think this is a gutsy move at all." He said the Hawaii-Phoenix market has been a good one for US Airways and noted that it is difficult to get from the East Coast to Hawaii.
Besides Charlotte, only two other East Coast cities -- Atlanta and Newark, hubs for
-- have non-stop Hawaii flights.
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.