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.

 

Hawaii Superferry Set Sail 10 Years Ago

Hawaii Superferry 2007

Throwback Thursday (#TBT)

By Melvin Ah Ching, Editor & Publisher, HawaiiFiles.com.

Can you believe slightly more than 10 years have passed since the Hawaii Superferry set sail in the islands. Hawaii residents were mostly thrilled to see the arrival of the ferry service which not only carried passengers between ports in the islands, but also vehicles of all types.

This was surely going to be a huge boom for inter-island travel, a new way of traveling from one county to another. Take your vehicle and even pack your stuff “in a laundry basket” as the TV commercial advertising the ferry once said.

Hawaii Superferry operated in the islands from August 2007 to March 2009. It was rough seas ahead for the ferry as it was met with stiff opposition from inter-island transport competitors Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines, Young Brothers shipping and a number of environmental groups and political interests.

Hawaii Superferry was able to establish its first route between Honolulu and Maui. It sailed to Kauai only once before activists shut it down by blocking the ferry from entering the harbor. Plans to sail to Kawaihae on the Big Island of Hawaii were never realized.

A few days after Superferry started, the service was suspended by a court ruling regarding an environmental impact statement.

A special legislative session to allow the Superferry to operate was held in late 2007. A bill was passed “to allow “large capacity ferry vessels” to operate between ports in the Hawaiian Islands while an environmental statement is prepared.”

Shortly after Governor Linda Lingle signed the bill into law, the Superferry resumed operations from December 2007 to March 2009. On March 16, the Hawaii State Supreme Court “ruled that allowing the Superferry to operate prior to completion of the environmental study was unconstitutional.”

Superferry operations permanently ended the day after. The Hawaii Superferry Company went into bankruptcy. The two vessels built for the operation (with only a single ship sailing between the islands at the time of closure) were eventually acquired by the U.S. Navy,

I was lucky enough to sail on the Hawaii Superferry from Honolulu to Maui and back shooting photos for the HawaiiReporter.com news site. It was one of those trips I’ll never forgot. After that trip, I looked forward to sailing on the Superferry between Honolulu, Maui and the Big Island as a regular paying customer.

Never happened.

Today most people who supported the concept of a privately funded ferry service wax nostalgic about the brief time Hawaii Superferry was in operation. It was a great travel option that should someday be tried again.

Hawaii Superferry
Hawaii Superferry sails out of Honolulu Harbor. August 2007.

Hawaii Superferry
Nice comfy seats on the Superferry, August 2007.

Hawaii Superferry 10-12-08
The Superferry sails back into Honolulu Harbor, 2008.

More Superferry Photos @ Flickr

 

The Hard Reality Of Honolulu Rail Costs – Honolulu Civil Beat

On the eve of a special legislative session, University of Hawaii Professor of Engineering Panos Prevedouros calls for a forensic audit of the gigantic and expensive rail mistake before more damage is done by taking the train to its current, intended end at Ala Moana Center.

Read the article on Honolulu Civil Beat:

Only a forensic audit can explain how an all-inclusive $4 billion cost for completing 16 miles and 14 stations has ballooned to more than $10 billion for 20 miles and 21 stations.

Source: The Hard Reality Of Honolulu Rail Costs – Honolulu Civil Beat

Big Ugly EXPENSIVE RailRail construction, last year, near Pearlridge Center.

Editor’s Note: I have been an opponent of rail for more than 30 years.

Turkish Man Arrested After Plane Arrives in Hawaii

AA.A321.N109NN.2014-11-12.KJFK-A321-231.b-r

The security issue that arose on an incoming flight to Hawaii from Los Angeles International Airport raises the question “why did authorities in L.A. allow this passenger to board the plane”?

Here’s the skinny.

Turkish passenger Anil T. Uskanil was arrested shortly after American Airlines Flight 31 landed at Honolulu International Airport yesterday. He allegedly tried to breach the airliner’s cockpit or exit doors about 4 hours into the 6 hour long flight. Passengers and flight crew successfully subdued him.

Before the plane left L.A., Uskanil breached the passenger holding area at the airport and was apprehended. He was charged with a “trespassing misdemeanor” for trying to get into an area that led to the ramp. Shortly after, he was released and allowed on board Flight 31.

The big question here is why was Uskanil allowed to board the flight after breaching security at the airport? Couldn’t authorities have just arrested and jailed him? Uskanil should not have been allowed to board the Hawaii flight after the airport incident. The safety of everyone on board was at risk.

Security procedures of this type need to be reviewed and a pre-emptive policy set in place.

You would think with all of the enhanced security that was implemented after the 9-11 disaster, authorities would know not to let people like this board flights.

News article at StarAdvertiser.com (paid content)

Top photo of American Airlines A-321 from Flickr by 320-ROC.

Video: KHON 2 News


Video: CBS Los Angeles

Short Takes on Hawaii News, Events and Announcements

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa’s Town Meeting

Public Meeting with Congresswoman Hanabusa
U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa held a town meeting yesterday (May 9) at McKinley High School in Honolulu where she answered mostly partisan questions regarding issues effecting Hawaii and the nation. During the Q & A Rep. Hanabusa addressed a number of issues including federal budgeting items for the military, social services, rail and more. She also touched upon the Hawaii marine preserve, Hawaiian governance, sanctuary cities, education and the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Approximately 60 people attended the meeting.

Photo: Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa poses for pictures with two of her supporters.

More @ The Hawaii Political Platter Blog

Honolulu International Airport Renamed The Daniel K.  Inouye International Airport

Take Off The Honolulu International Airport has recently undergone a name change. The airport is now called the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. The State of Hawaii airport website for the airport has changed to reflect the new name, as well as the signage on the premises. The airport will retain the PHNL and HNL airline codes.

Daniel K. Inouye was Hawaii’s longtime Senator serving in Washington DC from 1963 to 2012. While naming the airport is an honor for the Senator, it certainly does not say “Hawaii” as the old name, Honolulu International Airport.

Photo: Airliner taking off from airport’s reef runway.

Additional News Links

The Hawaii Republican Party will be holding its annual convention this weekend, May 12 and 13 on the island of Kauai at the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort. New state officers are to be elected and party rules updated.

Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may run for President of the United States. At this early stage nothing can be discounted, though it would seem that Hollywood Celebrities such as Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sonny Bono turned their celebrity status and name recognition into political success. It certainly takes a lot of money and name recognition to be elected. Hawaii connection for Mr. Johnson? He lived in Hawaii when he was a teenager.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) in Hawaii is having two “resource day” events on May 11 and 17. The May 11 event will be at the Ewa Beach Location of American Savings Bank. The one on May 17 will be at the Kaimuki Branch of The Bank of Hawaii. More details and registration at this link: SBA – Hawaii.

Hawaiian Airlines is having another one of their monthly ticket sales for inter-island flights for as low as $68 each way (depending on distance to destination). The deadline for reservations is tomorrow, May 11. The price for inter-island tickets have certainly rose in recent years when most flights sell for nearly $100 each way.

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, May 14. Don’t forget to honor your Mom with gifts and love. For unique gift suggestions visit this link: A Greener Daily Life. While it may be too late for some gifts, just remember that it is for “Mom” and that every day is “Mother’s Day”.