Except WN is not competition on either of the two routes being axed. ....
I know, that's why I wrote "Calif. to KOA". All of WN's mainland/HI service is still from California, so the network elements at play are Californina/Hawaii, or even more specifically, California/OGG.KOA.HNL.
I would restate the premise of your second paragraph as the Calif/HI networks are in flux after WN's entry, AS is scrambling, and HA will soon be making adjustments. "Free checked bags" is putting the pinch on the golden goose in the HA pond.
I do not see WN as the threat to AS that much. Indeed they have 2 bags fly free, but AS has multiple cabins with premium economy & first class. AS has better meal options (both are BoB) , better entertainment options & is also offering assigned seating. I think HA is going to be paying more of a price with WN's arrival. I've heard rumor WN wants to fly LGB-HNL/OGG/KOA at some point. only rumors.
WN would be wise to target ONT for HI flights, I think they should go as far as LAS when the MAX starts operating HI flights, I believe between LAS & OAK, WN can single connect the lions shae of their network.
There will definately be those shopping on price alone, there will be the loyalists to both carriers, there will be the ones looking for certain other amenities, like 2 free bags or the ability to upgrade. In my opinion there is more than enough California - Hawaii to fill several 737's a day.
The big difference is WN's readiness to fly Inter-Island, that I knew would be a big success for them. We flew in 2017 over there & were paying darn near $100 a segment on HA. I ended up booking us all in first class for our three inter-island flights, because after bag fees & the coach fares, it was a meager $25-30 fare difference a leg & then we get the lounge access, the good seats on the plane & a couple drinks. Plus the first class tags they put on your luggage, had our bags on the baggage claim belt right up front of the remaining baggage, that was worth the extra money.
Now I would almost certainly use WN between Islands, although I like flying on the 717's HA has. In fact when we go over election time next year (a tradition for us) we will fly on the lone WN flight OGG-KOA.
Except WN is not competition on either of the two routes being axed. SMF-KOA has no competition when AS stops flying the route, although it's highly likely that WN will jump on it ASAP. But SFO-KOA isn't working, I have to wonder how AS can not fill one 738 a day from the huge metro that is SFO, to one of the most travelled destinations out of California. UA will remain on that route with multiple daily flights.
In fact according to another article I read on apple news, was that AS is adding flights from SJC (where WN is the competition) & from SAN (which has been announced WN will launch HI flights from), to me that seems like AS cancelling a non-hub route SMF-OGG, like they did with BLI to KOA & cancelling a route where they are likely getting trounced by the 800 pound gorilla that is UA & going to battle WN in markets they want to remain relative in, like SAN & SJC.
But, but, but...the SFO hub that AS is building!
Acquisitions are an odd thing, SFO will always be an important hub for AS, while the cities may change as the years go by, their presence will grow. I think AS has not had to battle so hard in one city for customers ever. UA is so entrenched that it's never going to be their strongest hub, but it's an important one in an important city for a carrier that wants a big West Coast presence.
VX was acquired for that real estate & short term leases on the Airbuses to keep flying the routes. AS knew that in order to have a snowballs chance of being the West Coast airline, meant they needed a decent presence at SFO. The fate of VX routes were evaluated one by one, for both connectivity & O/D. There are more cuts coming & also some new adds that may bring into picture how AAG wishes to move forward. What you saw a month ago with 8 new PNW to California routes, expect more of that stuff & less T-CON & Mid-Con's. God only knows how this will all work out, if not, that'll just brings change again.
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