adh214
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Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 6:41 am

I just finished reading an article on CNN that explained the price of intra Hawaii flight has increased dramatically and many residents of Hawaii are choosing to vacation on the main land instead of on other islands.

Link:
http://www.cnn.com/2003/TRAVEL/07/07/hawaii.flyers.ap/index.html

I wonder if Southwest could make a go of it on intra Hawaii flights. I feel that this would match their business model.

1. Plenty of short flights
2. Over priced competition
3. Mostly a leisure market

They would have to make one modification to their business model. It is my understanding that they do not carry life rafts to save on weight. (Thus, flights from Texas to Florida for example fly east and then turn the corner to fly south.) As all of these flights would be over water they would have to carry the life rafts. However, I don't think this would be a major problem as the Hawaiian aircraft would likely be permanently based in Hawaii.

Also, they would do have connecting service from the main land. Thus, they would have to dead head planes back to the main land for maintenance. (Unless they wanted to start a flight from LA to Hawaii. Can the 737 make it that far with passengers?)

I know Southwest is not adding new cities but "connecting the dots" this year. I thought this might be a good item to discuss. Please don't act all annoyed. If you don't like the topic, the back button is the upper left corner of most browsers.

So what do you think? Would it work? Would Southwest consider it?

Andrew
 
UN_B732
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 6:44 am

OAK-KOA is served by Hawaiian or Aloha on a 737NG (with winglets?) but WN is getting winglets now. Each WN station would have to have 10 flights a day in this case...if that is possible in this case.
-UN
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UN_B732
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 6:45 am

Is it OAK-KOA I know some Mainland to Hawaii flight is done, but I'm not sure if it is OAK-KOA??
-UN
What now?
 
I LOVE EWR
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 6:47 am

This topic has come up from time to time, do a search. I think it won't work but you never know.
 
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STT757
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 6:56 am

WN could buy into Aloha and develop a reciprocal FF program, see what happens.
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sllevin
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 7:00 am

I think it would work, except that WN would have to build an MX infrastructure out on the islands, or operate only -700's out there and provide mainland service to rotate aircraft in and out.

All in all, it's probably something they feel has too many "moving parts" for not enough total return.

Steve
 
ha763
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 7:11 am

AQ does fly OAK-KOA with a 737-700 without winglets. Anyways, history has shown that the market cannot support 3 major interisland carriers and this was when the interisland market was growing. The demand for interisland flights has been dropping with the increase of airlines flying directly to the neighbor islands. The interisland market has not been profitable for both AQ and HA for about the past 5-6 years.

If WN were to move in, at least one carrier will eventually exit the market.
 
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aloha73g
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 7:12 am

Aloha uses 737-700s with NO winglets to fly HNL/OGG/KOA/LIH to YVR/OAK/SNA/BUR.

The interisland market has shrunk considerably since its peak in the mid 1990s due to direct flights from LAX and SFO to OGG/KOA/LIH. Both Hawaiian and Aloha say it is unprofitable even with full loads.

One thing to consider is that Hawaii has extremely high costs of doing business, particularly with regard to taxes and labor costs. I am not sure if WN could make it profitable with such short flights (about 20 mins HNL-OGG).

Both Aloha and Hawaiian operate like WN on these flights (no seat assignments, quick beverage service) and in most respects are more efficient as far as services go.

WN would have to make a lot of changes to it business plan to make Hawaii work, and most likely would have to fly from LAX to HNL or OGG.

It would be interesting, but I think WN will stay out of this saturated, unprofitable market.
Aloha Airlines - The Spirit Moves Us. Gone but NEVER Forgotten. Aloha, A Hui Hou!
 
tt737fo
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 7:27 am

Aloha and Hawaiian, for all their quirks, are bitched about constantly. However, the proposed merger "Haloha" has the governor running scared because some competitor (such as a healthy United) may move in.

Despite everyone's concerns about the air fares here, make no mistake about it: Aloha and Hawaiian have been here a long time and are the political sweethearts with the locals.

Aloha and Hawaiian have their own unique service....the locals (who make up a great deal of the traffic) love to bitch about it. But they will, in the end, be very loyal if a competitor moves in. WN moving in here would be a real tough row to hoe.
 
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HA_DC9
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 10:46 am

The aircraft type also has a lot to do with a carrier making money on the interisland routes in addition to what has been discussed above. As has been discussed before, any 737 version other than the 737-200 would be very expensive to operate on Hawaii interisland flights. Aloha learned that lesson when they tried using 737-400s. It is also why they will not use their 737-700s on interisland flights. This is why Aloha uses (and will continue to use) the 737-200: it has the right capacity and AQ can get them cheap. Any carrier who wants to fly interisland routes would need an aircraft that is specifically designed to fly routes like Hawaii interisland economically which is either an RJ, turboprops (which people in Hawaii dislike), or the 717-200. I highly doubt that WN will introduce another fleet type to fly within Hawaii.
 
CheshireCat
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 11:19 am

Southwest COULD make the flights between LA to HNL, they have the equipment; but the cost is probably what SWA is looking at. Hawaii already has two local airlines that both handle that route (EG: Aloha and Hawaiian) That, plus 15-20 some other airlines that all fly into Hawaii... in other words, too much competition.

SWA's strong point is that it's able to lower the costs through volume. Airlines such as ATA already offer sub-$400 flights to and from the islands, something that SWA would have a hard time competing with. The best example I can think of is Aloha's flights to and from Oakland. From what I remember hearing on the local news, Aloha was losing money...LOTS of money due to increased operating costs and lower passenger volume. I'm pretty sure SWA is looking at the big wallet before they decide to fly over one of the biggest puddles on earth.

-J
 
SRD737NG
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 1:39 pm

Just a quick add on to what HA_DC9 had to say up above, and that is the airplanes being used/could be used interisland. The 737-200 IS the best for the job in this environment. The number osf cycles these planes get are huge. No airplane is stronger and can take more abuse than a 727 or in Aloha's case, the thunder guppy. Aloha would love to fly them forever, but unfortunatly they will most likely be phased out by 2007. A replacement aircraft is being researched. Some say RJ's. Nope, won't work - unless you want one RJ flying with the people and a 2nd RJ flying in formation with all the vacation bags and cargo. Those airplanes simply don't have the capacity for both. Turbo props - nope. As HA_DC9 said, and most people know, passengers don't like em. And as far as the 717 goes, i don't really think it's the perfect plane for the job either. From what i've been told, those engines aren't doing to well on these short hops all day out here. Not to mention, a brand new airplane +high lease payment + unprofitable interisland operation ='s BIGGER MONEY LOSER. I think that is being proven with a certain Chapter 11 filing. It's a tough market, but the 737-200 is the Boeing workhorse, its been proven. I'll be very interested to see what Aloha does in a few years!!
 
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yyz717
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 2:02 pm

The most logical replacement for the AQ 732 is the 735 or 733.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
ha763
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 2:08 pm

I would say that the 717 is just as good even slightly better aircraft. It really is a DC-9 with modern engines and systems. Even the DC-9 was an even match for the 737-200. One of HA's DC-9's retired with over 95,000 cycles. I used to have access to the reliablity reports for the whole HA fleet and the 717's had a dispatch rate in the very high 90's. On time performance was also in the high 90's. There were very little engine problems. I also don't recall any maintenance alerts for the engines.
 
brons2
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 2:22 pm

After Greg mentioned it, I looked up the service alert history on the 717 and the BR-715 engines do have overheating problems when idled for long periods of time in high temperatures. Probably not good in Hawai'i.
Firings, if well done, are good for employee morale.
 
SRD737NG
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 2:25 pm

There is no question that the 717 is a nice airplane, but just wait and see if it's still up to the task 20 or 30 years from now. The DC-9 is still proving itself at NWA, i think HAL should have stuck with them interisland, especially since interisland flying has lost money for years before the 717 was ordered. I agree about the best replacement for the -200 to be the -300 or -500. Only problem there is, they are getting old too. Can you believe it? Time really fly's (no pun intended there).
 
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HA_DC9
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:04 pm

I doubt that AQ would go for the -300. The -300 might be a bit too big. Also, if I can recall from a previous AQ 737 discussion on this board a very long time ago, one of the reasons that AQ dumped the -400 was that the CFM56 engines were not doing too well for the type of flying that AQ does. I don't remember the specifics, maybe an AQ pilot can elaborate.

"After Greg mentioned it, I looked up the service alert history on the 717 and the BR-715 engines do have overheating problems when idled for long periods of time in high temperatures. Probably not good in Hawai'i."

If i'm not mistaken, I thought HA shut down the 717 engines at each airport station upon arrival. I know for sure that they do shut off at HNL and LIH. If that is the case, then the overheating problem shouldn't affect HA too much.

To get back on the subject...I think it is possible for WN to do interisland flights, but given the reasons above, it is highly unlikely. WN is going to continue to do whatever they can to keep costs down not find ways to drive them up.
 
HAL
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:32 pm

Here's my 2 cents worth:
WN would NEVER come into the interisland market, for all the reasons listed above. To recap:
1) HA and AQ have been there for 73 and 50+ years respectively. They have the loyalty of the locals, the infrastructure, and the experience. How much do you think it would cost WN to set up a complete route system with parts, maintenance, gates, personnel, etc.? This in a market the until recently was a huge money loser to both the local airlines.
2) Where would the passengers come from? HA and AQ not only bring their own across the Pacific, but code-share with all the big guys coming across too. WN does not code share. They only fly their own passengers. They'd have to start a complete trans-Pacific operation to do that, which would include ETOPS certification etc. That's another huge pot of money they'd have to pour into before making a single cent.
3) HA is now making a profit interisland. The 717 is working. The whole problem with extremely short flights is that for every takeoff, you are lifting the weight of the plane, fuel, passengers etc up and down. If you have a long flight, it doesn't matter much. But lifting 50,000+ lbs of metal up and down into the sky 15 or more times a day costs a LOT of money. That is why it is so hard to do with almost any plane. The 737 just doesn't cut it. It's way too big and heavy - just look at the latest profit statement from AQ. They're losing $ hand over fist. And the planes WN would bring in like the -300 or -500 would be even worse because they're more expensive to run because they're just bigger and heavier than AQ's -200's. HA can do it by having the lightest jet possible (for now) doing the job. And as for spending a lot of time idling the engines, I don't think you've watched any of these guys fly interisland. It's pushemback - startemup - taxi - you'reairborne. And on landing you've just barely rolled off the runway when the engines are being shut down as you coast up to the gate.
4) As said before, the locals complain bitterly about the two airlines right now. They cry like a baby if they can't just hop on a plane like getting into a cab to go visit Auntie Kamaka over on the next island. However both HA and AQ have to run a business, which means trying to make a profit. With the added stress of TSA inspections slowing things down, that is just about impossible. And all that comes from those who know best how to do it. WN knows this, and (as I said) would NEVER make an enterance into a market they know they can't control. WN hasn't made much in the way of mistakes up to this point, and I doubt they'd make one as big as this.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
ha763
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 4:27 pm

HAL, I never realized HA was making a small profit interisland now. It must have been after I was let go.

I was glad that HA decided to get rid of the DC-9's. Part of the problem with the DC-9's were that they were becoming unreliable. The on time performance of the DC-9's were horrible. They had mechanicals everyday. It was a hugh surprise when the DC-9's went through one day without a mechanical. The MD-80 was not an option because like AQ's 737-400's, they were too big, more expensive to operate, and not suited for interisland flying. They had a couple of MD-80's in the early 80's and got rid of them.

The only overheating problem I recall the HA 717's having is a hydraulics overheat indication on longer taxis to the reef runway at HNL. Like HAL said, the engines do not idle for long on interisland flights. The only time they are idling and not moving are right after pushback, when holding short on a taxiway, or waiting for a gate. Most times they are only stopped idling for 5 minutes max. Plus it rarely gets over 90 degrees F even in the summer. I wouldn't exactly call that high temperatures.

Also, before anyone says that WN uses their 737-300/-500/-700's on short routes, remember that the interisland routes are much shorter than most WN routes. They probably will run into the same problem AQ did with their -400's if they used the -300 or -500 here.
 
tt737fo
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 4:35 pm

>>>"The only overheating problem I recall the HA 717's having is a hydraulics overheat indication on longer taxis to the reef runway at HNL.

Rarely will you see an inter-island use the reef--if ever it will be between 0800-1000 with the Japan traffic arrivals. 8L/26R is the norm. Very short taxis.
 
T prop
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Tue Jul 08, 2003 4:51 pm

HAL, I never realized HA was making a small profit interisland now. It must have been after I was let go.

I'm interested in this also. Is HA making any lease payments on their aircraft or making payments to all creditors? If not, would this money saved be contributing to the profit?

T prop.



 
HAL
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Wed Jul 09, 2003 6:25 am

HAL, I never realized HA was making a small profit interisland now. It must have been after I was let go.

Dunkerley has put out some regular messages on the executive line, and according to him, we made a profit interisland Jan - Mar, and also May. Too soon to know about June. Mostly this is because of the increased fares and the much lower maintenance and operation cost of the 717.

Is HA making any lease payments on their aircraft or making payments to all creditors? If not, would this money saved be contributing to the profit?

According to the laws of bankruptcy, HA isn't paying Boeing Capital on the lease payments for those planes so they can preserve cash, but they still have to list the contracted payments as a debt on the balance sheets. So although the cash isn't going out the door, the payments still count on the balance sheet for profit/loss statements. Therefore, if we weren't in bankruptcy and had to pay out the cash, we'd still be making a profit on interisland. The idea of the bankruptcy is to preserve what little cash we had on hand to allow the airline to survive long enough to restructure the leases. And from what I understand, all other contracts and payments are being made on time.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Wed Jul 09, 2003 8:02 am

A little off topic but if you don't mind TT737FO could you send me an email at MAS757200@YAHOO.COM

I have a few questions about flying for JAL. Thank you.
 
lgbguy
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RE: Idea: WN Servicing Intra-Hawaii Routes

Wed Jul 09, 2003 8:10 am

This topic does get boring, someone always has to bring it up.

Let me say this as a WN employee, this will not happen in the forseable future nor will service between the mainland and the Islands.

Don't get me wrong most of us at WN would LUV to see this service, but we all know it is not going to happen.

lgbguy