Hawaiian Air VP's Revealing Promotion To #3 At Southwest

Southwest Route Changes + Former Hawaiian VP’s Promotion To #3 at SWA

Southwest is solidifying its Hawaii network plans per their latest schedule just out.

Andrew Watterson, who many of you remember well from the prominent role he previously played at Hawaiian Airlines, has just been promoted. In a press release, SWA announced that he had been bumped up from Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer to the #3 position of Chief Operating Officer.

Andy Watterson is on the path to leading Southwest Airlines.

Southwest said that “In his new role, Watterson will provide Executive Leadership to Flight Operations, Inflight Operations, Crew Scheduling, Cargo & Charters, Customer Support & Services, Ground Operations, Hospitality Operations Support, Labor Relations, Network Operations Control, Regulatory Programs & Compliance, Operations Strategy, Performance & Design, Safety & Security, and Technical Operations. Additionally, he will continue to oversee the airline’s Network Planning Department.”

Why Hawaii remains critical to Southwest.

Watterson came to Southwest Airlines as VP of Network Planning and Performance nearly a decade ago and has been Senior VP of Network and Revenue Management since 2017. He had been VP of Planning and Revenue Management at Hawaiian Airlines.

To say that Andy has inside knowledge about everything at Hawaiian Airlines is an understatement. He was a huge catch for Southwest then and remains so to this day.

BOH: This further promotion to COO speaks not only to how valuable Watterson is to SWA but also to the importance of Hawaii to their business.

Only one person stands between Watterson and Southwest’s CEO.

There are only two people higher in the executive command at Southwest. They are Robert Jordan, the current CEO, and Michael Van de Ven, the president.

Southwest’s recent Hawaii developments.

In August, we announced that 10 Southwest Hawaii flights had been dropped, which included routes from LA, Phoenix, Sacramento, and San Diego. That represented a reduction of 38% from their prior schedule. Last month, Southwest brought back four popular routes starting next March: LA to Kauai, LA to Kona, Sacramento to Maui, and San Diego to Maui. According to their latest schedule update, however, the remaining canceled routes are no longer in Southwest’s network plans and will not be returning.

BOH: Southwest will go to seasonal on Hawaii routes when needed to adjust flights to demand. As other airlines move to less-than-daily Hawaii routes, Southwest will move in the same direction. Hawaiian and Alaska already do that on some Hawaii routes, operating several times each week but not every day.

Southwest continues to fly an aggressive interisland schedule in competition with Hawaiian Air. That keeps interisland fares suppressed to the $39 price point on both carriers for the foreseeable future.

Read our recent and surprisingly favorable review of Southwest from California to Hawaii

The photo above is of Andy Watterson and former SWA CEO Gary Kelly.

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11 thoughts on “Southwest Route Changes + Former Hawaiian VP’s Promotion To #3 at SWA”

  1. You guys are leaving out the one most popular that has never really been established and that’s direct flights from Las Vegas to either Hilo or Kona!

  2. For many years Hawaiian Airlines has been over charging the residents to fly interisland. Hawaiian Airlines is from California not Hawaii. Residents for many years were paying high prices to try and go see their extended families off Island. I say shame on Hawaiian Airlines.

    1. Hawaiian Airlines is based in Honolulu and the largest private employer in the state. SWA is the out of state airline. Saw the CEO. of SWA interviewed by Howard Dicus a couple months ago and it was painfully obvious how little he knew about Hawaii. Not the least was his comment that it was his first time in Hawaii and had only been here 24 hours and could already tell how perfect SWA was for Hawaii…Auwe!

      1. Just to be clear, the revenue from a ticket bought on Hawaiian goes to Hawaii and supports the people that live there. Either directly or indirectly because the employees spend their paychecks locally supporting other local businesses and services. The money spent on a SWA ticket leaves the state.

        1. You should also realize that Hawaiian is providing the high paying jobs. Pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, business type…Southwest opportunities here are more entry level and some manager positions that don’t pay much in tax.

    2. Finally, just out of curiosity, I picked a random SWA city pair with a similar distance to inter island..SMF to LAX. Ticket prices one way ranged from 220 to 360. SWA is simply trying to break in to the market before they raise their fares. That’s how they have always done their business. It’s called the SWA effect. They are all about SWA, nothing wrong with that, HA is all about Hawaiian. But they are both corporations seeking profits.
      Obviously Hawaii benefits more when Hawaiian does well, while SWA profits benefit a much bigger corporation.

      1. We recently flew SWA from San Jose, Ca to Dallas non-stop, roundtrip for $198 each. That is way less than the same flight for the last several years. SWA has actually reduced fares over time. I understand your positive feelings about Hawaiian John. I love that airline too, but you are wildly exaggerating the “SWA effect”.

        1. Believe it or not Curtis I actually think the competition is good! Just putting in perspective the fact that flying Hawaiian supports Hawaii and the people that live here. Not so with much with SWA. As was said here before some people find that important, some don’t.

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