I've said this before but anyone who thinks that Southwest will be a major threat to HA does not know Hawaii government. I would be extremely surprised if WN got any bigger than the current presence in Hawaii.
Give me a break! Money is money, whether it comes from the local airlines or an outsider(s). The state is too consumed with the rail project right now that any source of additional revenue into the state coffers would make the state senators happy.
But thousands of their constituents out of jobs will certainly make them notice. As it is, state government is trying to pressure HA into bringing it’s call center back on island.
Let’s not forget that Senator Inouye that pressed UA to remain out of the inter island market decades ago. Why do you think it would be any different today?
Times are different, when the late Senator Inouye helped block UA's entry into the Inter Island market, there was already competition, both well established local companies that represented thousands of jobs locally.
AQ was already struggling against HA & the onslaught of a myriad of Inter Island, A few years of operation carriers, including Discovery, Go & Mahalo Air & their crazy low fares to attract new customers. It was widely speculated that if UA did what they wanted, which was to base a small fleet of 73S's to opertate & compete against HA & the ailing AQ. It would have meant AQ's demise would have come sooner than later, it was meant to be that jaust that kept the carpetbagging UA from entering the market.
Oddly when AQ did cease operations, there was a shortage of available seats & I've heard, UA considered a stop gap operation until the market could fully rebound, but obviously it never came to fruition.
At this point, I suspect the market is ripe for a strong competitor. IMHO, HA will retain their 800 pound gorilla position in the Inter-Island market for business folks & those that travel frequently in state or from Hawaii to the Mainland, Oceana or Asia. I doubt HA will do much more than match fares at certain hours.
The market that WN will capture are the families taking the coolers & luggage with Lord knows what in household goods of commodities. I have booked travel there in the past & my large IBEW/NECA group, always travelled 30-50 at a time & they ALL took coolers with them, filled with fish & special dishes each of the households made, it was a party to travel with them, that is a reasonably sized dempographic that WN will appeal to. I also believe WN will get many tourists for the same reason, even if there is no brand loyalty to WN & especially if there is no brand loyalty to HA.