Flying Inter-Island in Hawaii

Flying Inter-island in Hawaii banner

Southwest Airlines // Boeing 737-8 MAX // N8711Q (cn 36979, ln 6272) // KCMH 10/1/17
Southwest Boeing 737-MAX jets will be flying to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland sometime next year. Photo by Micheal Wass.

The anticipated arrival of Southwest Airlines to Hawaii’s skies has created a possible scenario that grows larger every day with the recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by local carrier, Island Air.

First off, Southwest announced earlier this month that they will be starting up West Coast USA to Hawaii service using their new Boeing 737 MAX jets. The airline is in the process of getting ETOPS certification and securing gate space at Hawaii airports. The airline has not announced their Hawaii – U.S. mainland destinations, but it can be assumed that the airline will at least be flying to Honolulu and Kahului, Maui with Lihue and Kona being fairly good bets too.

What is most interesting about Southwest’s entry into the Hawaii market is the possibility that the airline will start “limited” inter-island service. 

Southwest Airlines is popular with many mainland flyers as they are known for being a low-cost carrier and do not charge fees for checked baggage or flight changes.

The announcement comes at a precarious time for Island Air, the state’s second largest inter-island carrier. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a week ago after a dispute concerning lease rents for three of their Q400 aircraft surfaced. The lessor wants to repossess the aircraft. They filed a lawsuit in bankruptcy court to force the airline to give up the planes. Should the lessor prevail in the lawsuit, Island Air which is down to those three planes after two other Q400s were taken away will be forced to go out of business leaving 400 people unemployed.

Island Air N943WPOne of Island Air’s ATR 72s, which were just retired, passes by the Hawaiian Airlines maintenance hanger in this photo shot in 2015.

Island Air recently retired their fleet of ATR 72s hoping that the Q400s would help bring costs down.

Should Island Air close, longtime incumbent, Hawaiian Airlines will more than likely increase their inter-island ticket prices (which are high already) as they reign in their near-monopoly position in the inter-island market.

COMMENTARY

  1. It will be a sad day in the local airline industry if Island Air goes out of business. In 2008 Aloha Airlines went out of business after being in the market for more than 60 years. Mesa’s Go! airlines which disrupted the inter-island market in 2006 contributing to Aloha’s demise, went out of business in 2014.
  2. The possible entry of Southwest into the inter-island market will be a great option for local residents who have been negatively impacted by Hawaiian Airlines’ high ticket prices and baggage/change fees.
  3. There will definitely be room for Southwest should Island Air go out of business.

What do you think? Send us a comment.

 

Saturday is Free Live Museum Day

Smithsonian Museum Live Day graphic

Throwback Thursday (#TBT)

It’s always Throwback Thursday when you visit any one of Hawaii’s museums. This coming Saturday, September 23 will be a special day for visiting 4 of Oahu’s museums for the absolute low price of a FREE admission ticket.

Yes, through the Smithsonian Museum Day Live! program visitors can gain free access to the following Oahu, Hawaii museums by just signing up and downloading a free ticket for two!

The Oahu museums included in the free offer are: Hawaii State Art Museum (free admission daily), Iolani Palace, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii Historical Gallery and the Pacific Aviation Museum at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor.

My favorite continues to be the Pacific Aviation Museum which is a must for any wartime history buff and aviation fan.

There is still time to snag a free ticket by just visiting the Smithsonian Museum Day Live! page. Have a great Saturday at the museum.

Boeing N2S-3 StearmanAbove and below: Two of dozens of aircraft on display at the Pacific Aviaton Museum on Ford Island.

Pacific Aviation Museum

Iolani Palace EveningFree admission this Saturday at Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu’s Capitol District. Photos Copyright to Melvin Ah Ching.