Aloha Means Hello and Goodbye

Aloha, Go!, Hawaiian, Island Air

The first casualty in the battle for Hawai’i (see this post) has arrived. No, it’s not an airline going away (yet), but it does involve nice looking airplanes.

Island Air had been operating 37 seat Dash-8 aircraft for years, but recently, they decided to expand with three 74 seat Q400s. They’re awfully proud of those planes, as evidenced by this purty picture on their homepage.

islandq

According to an article in ATW, go’s $19 one way fares have made Island Air change their minds about this whole expansion thing. The one Q400 they already received will be returned and the other two will not be taken up.

It sounds to me like they’re just using go’s fares as an excuse. They had originally acquired these larger aircraft to compete head to head with Aloha and Hawaiian on routes like Kahului (Maui) to Honolulu. They had fewer flights than the big guys and they were flying props. Even though I love flying on props in the islands, most people gravitate toward jets.

Either way, it’s the end of their grand experiment. My guess is that they will shrink back to their roots, connecting smaller island airports like Kapalua (Maui) to the bigger cities.

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5 comments on “Aloha Means Hello and Goodbye

  1. Island Air missed their opportunity to kick Hawaiian and Aloha when they were down. Their steps to compete with the two were too tentative in my opinion. In the meantime Go! has come storming onto the scene unabashedly offering unrealistically low fares to try and steal market share. Hawaiian and Aloha are wailing about this trying to get somebody to make Go!…well…stop. But isn’t Island probably getting hurt worse?

  2. I assumed Island wasn’t being hurt nearly as bad because they weren’t competing head to head as much.

    Go’s four routes are the biggest routes for Hawaiian and Aloha, but Island’s bread and butter was always the smaller markets which go will only start touching with their express flights.

    If you look at Island Air’s overlap, they only run 6 flights on Honolulu – Kahului (Maui), 2 flights on Honolulu – Kona, 1 flight Honolulu – Hilo, and 2/3 flights Honolulu – Lihue.

    I imagine those are the ones that will end up going away and they’ll return to their roots.

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