Southwest Hawaii Flights

Scores Of Hawaiian Air Flights Canceled + Southwest Pilots Safety Warning

It was reported that Hawaii’s bellwether Hawaiian Airlines has had to cancel 51 interisland flights in just two days this holiday week as a result of a pilot training issue.

This was first reported to us by a friend who got stuck trying to fly interisland. Then, Hawaiian Air’s Alex Da Silva said “We are also substituting our 128-seat Boeing 717 aircraft with larger aircraft – including our 189-seat Airbus A321neos and 278-seat A330s – on 33 of those flights to ensure we can accommodate all guests scheduled to fly with us.

The issue revolves around a flight simulator needed for pilot training. It was inoperative earlier this year, and that resulted in a backlog of the airline’s recertification of its pilots on the Boeing 717 aircraft used for interisland flights. The equipment has now been repaired, and Alex said that “With our 717 flight simulator now back online for several weeks, we are training at full capacity to minimize future disruptions.”

Southwest pilots warn of a sharp rise in fatigue and “safety is becoming untenable.”

Pilot-related issues are occurring at multiple airlines. Earlier this week, the SWA pilot union issued a letter of warning that certainly caught our eye in relation to Southwest Hawaii flights as well as the entire industry. You can read it for yourself below.

One particular reason for our concern is that Southwest Hawaii flights are of longer duration than many SWA flights. These flights to the islands are comparable in duration only to Southwest’s transcontinental flights.

Fatigue is considered a leading contributor regarding airline accidents and longer duration flight missions may be one factor associated with increased fatigue.

Since Southwest began increasing flights following a Covid lull, the union indicated a very concerning rise in pilot fatigue, with as much as a 600% increase in one month reported, and February and March 2020 up over 300%. That was compared with pilot fatigue pre-Covid.

The letter states that “Fatigue, both acute and cumulative, has become Southwest Airlines’ number-one safety threat. Our primary job as Pilots is identifying and capturing errors in order to break the error chain, but our ability to do so is compromised when we are fatigued. SWAPA Pilots are tasked with, and pride themselves on, making safety their highest priority. Over the last 12 months, our Pilots have filed an ever-increasing number of ASAP reports showing errors that can be directly correlated to fatigue.

In fairness to SWA, other U.S. carriers have also reported similar pilot fatigue associated with increased and unsustainable overtime and unstable schedules, according to WSJ.

47 thoughts on “Scores Of Hawaiian Air Flights Canceled + Southwest Pilots Safety Warning”

  1. The Pilots are fatigued? They had several
    months off !
    Tell that to the Dr. and Nurses who did
    Double duty and no time off for 2 years .
    How many hours are Pilots working ? I thought there was a limit to
    How often they can fly .

  2. Did everyone forget all the workers that were let go because they didn’t want the Covid shot ?? The airlines caused this problem themselves with that stupid rule. And all the other jobs that were lost due to that political scam.

    1. 100%

      I know several persoanlly.. many went to other airlines, including Southwest… Guess they’re not as dangeruous as Hawaiian’s CEO thinks.

    1. Those 1000 hours are engine running time. Everytime you see us in the airport, we aren’t getting paid. Every time you see us pre flighting an aircraft, we aren’t getting paid. Every time you see doing anything outside of the cockpit, we aren’t getting paid. Basically anytime you see us in uniform, we aren’t getting paid. Please do not equate what we do to your 40 hr work week. It has no comparison at all.

      1. Thank you, Mark, for your response to that comment. I appreciate your and other pilots’ hard work, paid and unpaid, that we passengers rely on to get us safely to our destinations!

        Bidding you Blue skies and Tailwinds!

        Lisa B

  3. I was forced to retire from Delta due to the age 65 rule. I would fill in as would other retirees on a temporary basis if the FAA would resend that onerous rule

      1. I didn’t want to mention that. I feel I make enough typos myself that I don’t have to point out typos made by others. I think LiGTHNiNG1 knows the difference between resend and rescind. And, I’m sure most of us were expecting rescind and therefore read the sentence with that word.

  4. Why is this now an issue?Has pilots work load increased from what it was pre covid?Are pilots suffering some kind of new ailment?Nothing in this article explains why now fatigue is an issue.

    1. Pilot unions have a history of screaming the sky is falling and is about to impact every time there are contract negotiations. Southwest used to be better than the others but Herb isn’t around anymore.

      The unions will cause delay and cause aircraft to be taken out of service unnecessarily. They will do anything but cause a crash. Luckily they have always drawn the line there.

  5. Airline workers here and we are victims as well. Do not act like the customer is the only ones impacted. We are over worked and we do not have the man powered to work every flight. So before you get pissed, remember you are not the only people impacted. Maybe stop flying for awhile!

    1. We Did stop flying. For about 18 months. Now people are anxious to catch up. I’m 73. Who knows how many more times I can visit my ohana?

  6. First I applaud the SWA staff for all that they do. Safety is always always first. So rather the fatigue reports are false or not. It should be honored and never taken lightly due to the fact too many lives depends on it. Special thank you to the pilots for not taking the risk when you not up to it.

  7. I was a victim of Hawaiian Airlines suddenly canceling on tons of innocent people left stranded at the airport – there is NO aloha spirit with this airlines – I will never forget how they contributed to Aloha Airlines demise – I will do my utmost to fly United, American, or Delta instead of this careless airlines

    1. A couple of days ago my OGG-HNL flight was delayed and Hawaiian accommodated me by providing me a seat on an earlier flight.

    1. As an aviation professional, I assure that pilot fatigue is NOT a “prima Donna” issue and a very real threat to safety.

      1. Note to Rob and Jeff:

        There is a way to “stuff the votes” like the above comment. I will share it with you offline if you send me an email to reply to.


        1. Hi MJ.

          Please feel free to leave a private message in a comment. We won’t publish it but will definitely see it. Thanks.


  8. Pilots complaining about fatigue? Really? Considering the amount of automation that modern aircraft have these days all they do is sit there. The work group that could complain about fatigue are the mechanics. They often work very long hours, in varying weather conditions to ensure all aircraft are ready for safe flight. Meanwhile after reaching certain hours, pilots “time out” and go home.

    1. Really? So going on a tangent mentioning mechanics minimizes any concern about pilot fatigue?
      You must own a self driving car?

    2. Until planes are flying themselves with no pilots on board, I think pilot fatigue is a valid concern. Mechanics being fatigued and pilots being fatigued can both be possible without and there is no need to discount one or the other.

      1. Maybe on 12 hours flight that’s a concern. But if pilots can’t handle 6-hour flights they need to trade their pilot’s license in for something a little easier. Maybe 3 days in a foxhole without a shower.

        1. These are not just a 6 hr flight. You have to look at all the hrs before the flight and the pressure they have been under from the company trying coverer trips. This is a concern that all should be aware of. This is an accident waiting to happen. I applaud their honesty. We are all worn out! Fatigue is real and unless you have experienced it you will make fun of it . Shame on you. Mechanics as well are a very important part of the stability of your aircraft you fly on. Mistakes are made under fatigue and between mechanics and pilots and flight attendants fatigue and being forced to work could result in a Crash! They are trying to prevent it!

          1. I travel for business all over the world.I recently took Southwest from Phoenix to Kona. I am shocked by the negative comments and name calling ! The chain of employees, everyone of them , are underpaid and overworked taking care of ungrateful,spoiled people who don’t give a damn about employees. Delays,mechanical issues,burnout are a fact of about a smile, a thank you instead of throwing rocks at these hard working people ?

          2. M.T.

            I didn’t mean to disparage the pilots, mechanics or anyone else. I just don’t think pilots are under much greater stress/fatigue than so many others.

            I looked it up and there are legal limits:
            § 121.481 Flight time limitations: One or two pilot crews.
            (a) ..may schedule a pilot to fly in an airplane that has a crew of one or two pilots for eight hours or less during any 24 consecutive hours without a rest period during these eight hours.

            (d) No pilot may fly more than 32 hours during any seven consecutive days, and each pilot must be relieved from all duty for at least 24 consecutive hours…
            (e) max 100 hours/month
            (f) No pilot may fly > 1,000 hrs per year (83 ave/month).

            Out of space 4 more & complete quotes.

      1. I agree with you, Rod. It’s a dangerous, untenable situation to work pilots these tough schedules but increase their pay and the danger “magically” goes away! Threatening safety is an old scare tactic used by the industry. Granted, legitimate issues need addressing, but pilot limits are already in place. Makes no sense.

    3. I’m sure you know pilots do much more than sit there. Even if it is true that mechanics work very long hours as you say, that doesn’t negate the pilots concerns. Two things can be true,and I bet mechanics complain plenty.

    4. Really? How about the plane that over flew Hilo. Or the NWA flight that over flew MSP by 300 miles? Fatigue is real!

      1. If pilots are exceeding their legal limit, either they or their supervisor needs firing. If they can’t handle their legal limit, they need another job. Airlines are not allowed to book flights that exceed their pilot count and flight hours maximum. Do you have something to report?

        1. Pilots are unionized so it’s not as easy as you would think it is….we have a different set of rules

    5. Typical Pilot day
      5AM-wake up
      545-drive to airport, park, take shuttle to terminal
      630-arrive terminal, go through security
      7AM-Arrive gate. Paperwork, briefing, preflight
      8AM-Flight departs. Inflight the pilot is “just sitting there” responsible for a few hundred lives. One wrong flick of the wrist and everyone is dead.
      5PM-Flight arrives west coast (3 hour time change)
      6PM-Outside terminal for shuttle to hotel
      630-Arrive hotel, shower, change clothes, eat
      930-bed but your body clock is at 630 so you don’t sleep
      11PM-fall asleep
      Get up in 6 hours and do it again.
      15 hour day. Just sitting there? Maybe think about that when your on that flight the next morning. Nice if the person in control of your life had 2 more hrs of sleep.

      1. Try working for the railroad and never ever know what time you’re supposed to go to sleep, and never know when you’re going to be called to go to work.

    6. What flight attendants don’t matter they re
      The ones working on their feet during flights and dealing with prima donna passengers

    7. This is not an “either/or” situation. Sure, the mechanics suffer from fatigue and that’s a safety concern. But we can agree that mechanics AND pilots are challenged in this area. Your comment is very narrow-minded


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