Another Inter-Island Airline Possible

There’s yet another player rumored to be reconsidering Hawaii inter-island service. Two years ago I first suggested that Alaska Air was interested in becoming involved in the Hawaii inter-island market.  And I believe that is even more true today. Alaska has since become the single most aggressive player in Hawaii’s skies today, opening more new Hawaii routes than any other airline.

At this moment there is an unprecedented jockeying for position in Hawaii air service occurring. It isn’t quite visible to the public yet, but it soon will be. It is being led by Alaska, which having arrived first, is going to try to lock in its dominance, prior to the upcoming arrival of Southwest and Allegiant. Southwest could arrive in Hawaii in just over one year, with its ETOPS 737-800’s deliveries to begin in March 2012. And Southwest may well be planning inter-island service.


Alaska’s Horizon Air unit has a fleet of 40 perfectly Hawaii-suited Bombardier Q-400 aircraft. With these, Alaska may make a pre-emptive entry into the inter-island market rather than wait to see what dominant Southwest plans to do.


Go! Mokulele coincidentally released their November and year to date traffic figures yesterday.  In a nutshell, it’s down another 15% for the year, with no sign of abating. I continue to see little reason for Republic’s Go! to continue inter-island service, other than that they just happen to have created a perfect balance for Hawaiian to be able to dominate and control the market thus far.

I can promise you this, we are about to see the most interesting time ever for Hawaii aviation. It will yield very favorable conditions for low priced airfares both inter-island and from the U.S. Mainland.

4 thoughts on “Another Inter-Island Airline Possible”

  1. Aloha Jeff,
    Guess it depends on the route, and type of aircraft used, but any gues as to what break-even is for the typical inter-island flight?
    Personally, if I may, watching go! GO would be great, but I’d hate to see Hawaiian (&/or Island) suffer the same fate as Aloha in a battle leaving only Southwest & Alaska-Horizon as the survivors.
    P.S. One other question that just popped into my noggin; any guess regarding Southwest’s aversion to code-sharing/baggage transferring? Flying into HNL (it’s a wide-body jet to Hawaii, or nothing for us) and having to claim bags, before heading to a neighbor Island, would be a real drag!

    1. Hi again Dodge,

      Thanks for your comments!

      1. I’ll guess (based on things I’ve heard) that with current fuel costs, break-even is about $30 per person per segment.
      2. Regarding Hawaiian, I’ll talk more about them and my predictions in that regard soon.
      3. Lastly on SWA’s aversions – good point. It would seem that they would have to handle Hawaii a little differently to be successful inter-island. In the meantime, Alaska will probably jump in here at any time, and we’ll see how deep they can go in order to disuade SW.

      Best, Jeff

  2. These would be welcome changes – they would afford us – the customer/visitor and the folks who call Hawaii HOME – with some viable options that we have not seen for a while.

  3. I hope all of these predictions come true! We definitely need more inter-island options to keep prices down. Come on airlines, bring on the price wars please!

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