Rumors that, if correct, could dramatically change the playing field in Hawaii travel. The Chicago Business Journal is reporting that Southwest CEO Gary Kelly appears to be in the acquisition mode, and Hawaii may not be far from his thoughts and plans. We’re not sure if what is being reported in the Journal article is correct or it is just a slow news day in civil aviation. In any event it definitely caught our attention.
Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue
Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are being specifically mentioned as potential takeover targets (in addition to JetBlue). Southwest has certainly been keen to find the best way to enter the Hawaii market soon, and if it works, this path could prove to be the most lucrative of all.
No new information on Hawaii from Southwest since 2014
We have been suspicious about the lack of further developments from Southwest Airlines regarding Hawaii since July 2014. At that time Kelly stated that “it wouldn’t take years to start flights to the islands.” We’ve expected to hear something, especially now that the long drawn out integration of AirTran is complete.
Would this be a good thing if it comes to pass?
Cannibalizing one of our two beloved Hawaii airlines doesn’t sound great for those of us who either live in Hawaii or love vacationing here. Could it prove ideal for Southwest, however? It would provide them with a strong and immediate Hawaii airline route system, and without adding more inventory to the market to potentially dilute prices and profits?
Any of these suggested acquisitions would be very challenging to pull off in many ways, not the least of which is government approval. Yet stranger things have come to pass and one thing we know for sure is that Hawaii aviation is always in a state of flux. Stay tuned for further developments.