After posting one of its best financial results on record in 2016, Hawaiian Airlines is reaffirming its commitment to the Asia Pacific region, celebrating its fourth anniversary of service between Auckland and Honolulu.
"It reflects our confidence and commitment to this part of the world," Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Mark Dunkerley told CNBC's "The Rundown" on Monday.
The Honolulu-based carrier is the largest and longest serving airline in Hawaii and the 8th largest commercial airline in the United States. Its key Asia-Pacific markets are Australia, New Zealand, China and South Korea. More recently, the airline expanded its service to Japan with additional routes and frequencies to Tokyo in 2016.
After emerging from bankruptcy in 2005, the airline undertook a repositioning to capitalize on the enduring demand for air travel to Hawaii, one of the world's most popular tourist and leisure destinations. The latest data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority shows strong international tourism inflows for the first two months of 2017, driven by big demand from visitors in Australia and New Zealand.
Government statistics also show visitor arrivals have grown steadily since 2010. More than 8.8 million people arrived by air to Hawaii in 2016, and arrivals are expected to rise to 9.41 million people by 2020.
"As a company, we embrace that. We wrap ourselves in the flag of Hawaii, in its culture and what it stands for. That's a very successful formula for us," Dunkerley said.
But the formula may be slowly changing as the airline looks for much of its future growth in the Pacific Rim. It sees additional and sustainable demand from the region and is transitioning to become a truly international carrier in order to compete for business in the region.
"The areas that are seeing rapid economic growth are principally around the Pacific Rim and we are well situated to take advantage of that," Dunkerley said last month.