June 4, 2018 / 9:57 AM / a year ago

Hawaiian Airlines says volcanic eruption led to modest drop in bookings

SYDNEY, June 4 (Reuters) - Hawaiian Airlines has experienced a modest decline in bookings on flights since an eruption at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano began forcing evacuations from homes last month, the carrier’s chief executive said on Monday.

The biggest impact has been on flights from Honolulu to Hilo and Kona, airports located on the Big Island where the volcano is erupting, CEO Peter Ingram said on the sidelines of an airline industry conference.

“I think some of that is probably people connecting off longer-haul flights,” he told Reuters.

“There are a lot of one-day tours where people will go to Hilo and spend some time and go to Volcanoes National Park. Volcanoes National Park has been closed for a few weeks now.”

Ingram said the volcano had not led the airline to delay or cancel any flights to date. However, tourism authorities last month said summer bookings for hotels on Hawaii’s Big Island have fallen almost 50 percent since the volcano began spewing lava and toxic gases on May 3.

“It is obviously a devastating event for the 2,500 people who have been displaced from their homes,” Ingram said. “But as we sit 250 miles (402 kilometres) away in Honolulu, we are watching it on TV like everybody else.”

The latest upheaval of Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, comes on the heels of an eruption cycle that began in 1983 and continued almost nonstop for 35 years, destroying more than 200 dwellings and other structures.

The current activity has been accompanied for weeks by daily explosions of gas and volcanic rock from Kilauea’s summit crater as well as earthquakes. (Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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