Southwest Airlines Coming to Hawaii!
Excuse me if I don’t get all excited at that news. I guess it’s OK if Southwest comes here if all they’re doing is flying visitors to and from San Diego and San Jose. I can’t see how that will have much of an impact. And I suppose it could result in some bargain promotional fares for Hawaii residents traveling to those cities, at least in the first few months.
But for some time now, we’ve been hearing on the “coconut wireless” that Southwest’s longer-range plan is to compete with Hawaiian Airlines for the inter-island market. Alas, we’ve had more than enough experience over many years to know that two major airlines fighting over the inter-island market here doesn’t work.
Hawaiian Airlines has been carrying local residents back and forth among these islands since 1927. Aloha Airlines began operations right after World War II and it was pretty much a cat fight from the get-go: both airlines had local ownership and both were in and out of bankruptcy more than once.
Then in the 1980s came new competition from Mid-Pacific Airlines—they managed to last a few years—and then from Mesa Airlines with its subsidiary airline named GO! They finally drove Aloha out of business once and for all in 2008 … and then they folded! The lesson? When there’s more than one inter-island carrier, nobody makes money.
Even though it’s no longer locally owned, most people here have a big soft spot in their hearts for Hawaiian Airlines. If we’re going somewhere—whether it’s a 20-minute hop to a neighbor island or their 10-hour non-stop to New York City—Hawaiian is the first choice for most of us and it takes a significantly cheaper special fare somewhere else to move us onto another airline.
After all, they have been an important part of our lives for more than 90 years and just about everyone who lives here has an auntie or a cousin or a brother who works for Hawaiian.
And, here’s one more: It’s still my opinion that Hawaiian Airlines has the most beautiful livery in all of commercial aviation.