Sleepy Long Beach airport may be getting set to host more Hawaii flights soon. That as a change-up in airlines at the facility is currently in process. According to a memo sent to Long Beach City Council, “Hawaiian Airlines is first on the waiting list for new flight slots, followed by Delta Airlines.” Also in line is Hawaii newcomer Southwest Airlines. As you know, Hawaiian Airlines started daily service between Long Beach and Honolulu in May 2018. We would speculate that Long Beach to Maui would certainly be feasible for someone.
JetBlue is in the process returning 10 of 12 unused slots to the airport for redistribution to other airlines. It isn’t clear yet whether Hawaiian, Southwest or both will ultimately deploy more Hawaii flights out of Long Beach, but here’s why we think they just might.
There is a huge demand for Hawaii flights from nearby Orange County, with its more than three million residents. At present, the only alternatives for Hawaii flights are San Diego or Los Angeles, both of which can often mean be one hour or more of driving, before even considering traffic and airport congestion.
Orange County to Hawaii flights not feasible. Here’s why:
The short runway requires aircraft capacity (passengers/cargo) restrictions due to its 5,701 foot length. By comparison, Lihue is 6,500 feet, and that too creates limitations.
Back in the day, when Aloha Airlines flew between Orange County and Honolulu, weight/passengers were restricted. That continues to present both logistical and financial issues. The aircraft required for Orange County to Hawaii flights today would be either a 737-700, 737 Max 7, A321 neo, or 757.
Profitability has not panned out. Aloha Airlines tried flights between John Wayne and Honolulu, and unfortunately, we know what happened to them. United has also tried Hawaii flights from John Wayne, but they were never profitable.
Connecting flight limitations. One of the things airlines look for in new routes is connection points. In this case, for passengers inbound to or outbound from Hawaii. Those are considered to somewhat more limited out of SNA in terms of likely airlines.
Long Beach Hawaii flights to the rescue?
Hawaii flights desired. Apparently Long Beach airport has been actively courting additional flights to and from Hawaii.
Longer runways that work. Long Beach airport has three runways providing up to 10,000 feet in length.
Good connections. Both Southwest and Hawaiian, via its partner JetBlue, have flights to feed passengers coming to and from Hawaii. JetBlue has 9 nonstop mainland routes from Long Beach while Southwest has 5 nonstop mainland routes from Long Beach.
Stand by for more on this as it develops.