Truthfully, I would have kept the LAX base open and closed the SEA base. I would think that it would be easier and faster to send replacement pilots from LAX to most HA mainland stations.
Perhaps they kept SEA open because partner AS gave them a good deal for transporting HA employees. LAX is definitely closer to the majority of mainland HA stations (ONT, SMF, SFO, SAN, Las Vegas, PHX), and United flies to each of these airports. Alaska cooperates extensively with HA, though, and flies to each of these destinations, as well, from SEA.
The company's stated reason for closing the LAX
bases is entirely economic. It has nothing to do with other airlines, or factors like getting pilots to other destinations. They say they are looking at the costs involved with layovers, hotels etc. SEA
is too far away (flights too long) to get the pilots enough rest before having to fly out the next day, so a three day trip is required (two nights in a hotel each trip). They figured it was cheaper to keep SEA
open then close it. By juggling flight schedules (and, say, having pilots fly into LAX
, then a van trip to SAN
to fly out the next day), the company says most pilots will still only have to spend one night each trip in a hotel.
All that said, the union (as part of our contract) has the right to oppose any proposed base closure. We did our own financial analysis of the base closures and found the company was WAY
out of line on some of its proposed dollar savings. The end result is that the issue is going to arbitration, so it isn't a done deal that they are closing. IMHO, since the company is trying to work out of bankruptcy and doesn't even have a business plan that goes more than six months into the future, spending the $2M+ required in moving and other costs involved in the base closure makes no sense at all. If we get new investors and start expansion, we may very well need those pilots back on the west coast, costing the company another bundle if they have to open them back up.
As far as the MD
-80's go, I believe it was actually brought up by Boeing, possibly because Hawaiian is discussing a lawsuit against Boeing because of corrosion and manufacturing defects on the 717 that have cost us a lot in lost revenue when the planes are grounded. However I seriously doubt we'd do it in the end, because we tried it once, and the MD
-80's nearly sent us into bankruptcy the first time. They are MUCH
too big, heavy, and expensive to run for us to use in interisland service.
Just my 2 cents.
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.