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Home / Business / Southwest will challenge Hawaiian Airlines in the "big market" of interisland flights, executive says

Southwest will challenge Hawaiian Airlines in the "big market" of interisland flights, executive says





  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / Feb 2019

    A senior airline manager tells Bloomberg News that Southwest Airlines is planning to head to Hawaiian Airlines in the interland market. Southwest Airlines flights are loaded at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.


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Southwest Airlines Co. plans to challenge Hawaiian Airlines for control of Hawaii's inter-island market shortly after the beginnings of flights to the state from the mainland, says a senior executive with Dallas-based carrier.

The short, demand, between island aircraft is just inside Southwest's wheelhouse, Southwest's revenue manager Andrew Watterson said in an interview with Bloomberg News today.

"We see the big market with higher price points, and it's short drive, which is what we are known for," said Watterson, who was at Hawaiian Holdings Inc. before joining the Southwest in 2013. "Size of The market and prices led us to see that we can make it profitable. ”

Dallas-based discourses will enter a market full of ghosts from other airlines that took on Hawaiian and failed. Island Air ceased flying after filing for bankruptcy in 2017, a fate shared by Aloha Air in 2008. Mesa Air completed operations of Go! discount unit in 2014. Southwest has not disclosed when it will begin flying to or within Hawaii, after receiving government approval this week.

Airline flying 175-seat Boeing Co. 737-800, later changed to 737 Max with the same number of passengers. The Hawaiian operates Boeing 717s with 128 seats between the islands, while its Ohana commuter uses 48-seat turboprops.

"If you look at the history of the island flying, it works with one," said Andrew Harrison's officer in Alaska Air Group Inc., flying to Hawaii, but not between the islands. "It never worked with two. There is a reason why Hawaiian flies the plane as they do."

Watterson is untouched. Southwest can operate the larger aircraft more efficiently than the 717s, which it found to be more expensive than the 737s. A limited number of frequencies at the highest travel time means "I'm not worried about filling them up," he said.

"What people miss is that intra-Hawaii is a big market," he said. "It is bigger than in Texas. We built our airline at Int & # 39; Texas using 737." The Inter-Island market averaged 6,515 people a day traveling each year in the year through September 30, Watterson said, quoting US transportation department data that does not include connecting passengers. Texas had 6,212.

In response, Hawaiian Airlines issued a statement today that promoted its experience in the inter-island market and its competitiveness.

"We compete with each other against the largest airlines in the world with award-winning service, leading punctuality and unmatched value," the company's statement said. Hawaiian touted its 202 inter-island flights a day, and its 12 direct flights to mainland villages, "soon 13 with Boston – more than any other carrier"

Southwest and rivals once priced single tickets in Texas under $ 50 but increased prices over time , and increased profits. Today, the cheapest one-way service available from Houston to Dallas was $ 109.30, according to a Google Fly Search. The three largest airlines now fly across the state.

Hawaiian Airlines lowest international driving directions priced today for the journey from peak tours went from around $ 70 to $ 95.

Hawaiian's statement noted: "Our average one-way neighbor Island base price (excluding fees and fees) was $ 71 for those The last four quarters "ends in the second quarter of 2018.

Southwest received approval from the United States Federal Aviation Service on Wednesday for Hawaii service and said it would post details for its service" in the coming days. "

The airline will initially fly from the California cities of San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento and Oakland. Its destinations will be Honolulu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.


Star Advertiser staff contributed to this report.



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