After a bloody year for the aviation industry, Peter Ingram, CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, told CNBC that he believes it can only be done from here.
Airlines have spent much of 2020 cutting routes and cutting flights as the demand for travel has fallen due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, companies like Delta and United Airlines have announced some new additions in the past few months.
Hawaiian Airlines joins the battle with new nonstop flights from Honolulu to Austin, Texas. Orlando, Florida and Ontario, California will be added in the spring. The Honolulu-based company expects air traffic to recover in the New Year and is trying to take advantage of the population development in the southern states.
“The reason it is time to announce three new routes is that … we are very optimistic for 2021,” he said at Closing Bell. “These are places we’ve been looking for a long time. They have good demand for Hawaii.”
Austin has established itself among the top tech scenes in the country, competing with the traditional tech ecosystem for which the San Francisco Bay Area is known. The Texas capital has caught the interest of several tech companies that have either opened factories there or announced plans to relocate their headquarters out of California.
Earlier this month, Oracle, a mainstay of Silicon Valley, announced that it would move its headquarters to Austin. It is among a number of companies planning to relocate outside of California.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has relocated his personal residence to Texas and has split most of his time between Austin and Boca Chica, where SpaceX facilities are located. Tesla, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and Musk’s tunnel start-up Boring Co. both operate in Austin.
Apple is also expanding its presence in the Texas capital, where it is investing $ 1 billion in a 3 million square foot campus. The site is expected to employ 5,000 people and is due to open in 2022.
“I’ve seen coverage in your air of how Austin is booming as a technology hub these days, and we think a lot of those people want to go to Hawaii,” Ingram said. “Same goes for Orlando with a growing population.”
Florida has been a long-standing hotspot for retirees looking to move, and the state’s population has grown steadily. Due to population shifts in the US, Texas is expected to add three seats for its US home delegation and Florida is expected to get two seats, the Associated Press reported.
The Census Bureau estimates that 10 states, including New York, Michigan and California, are at risk of losing at least one seat in the House of Representatives, which the AP said could have a noticeable impact on the country’s political map.
Hawaiian Airlines recorded a decrease in revenue of around 90% in the last two quarterly reports.
“At a time when the depth of some of our traditional routes may not be what they were, this is a great opportunity for us to expand our network and we see great opportunities in all of these, not just for the next year but also for the long term, “said Ingram.
Hawaiian Airlines shares fell 1.55% on a shortened trading day in recognition of Christmas Eve. At $ 17.78 a share, the stock is down 39% year-to-date.
The stock is more than double its pandemic low of $ 7.55 as of mid-March.