Hawaii Inter-island Air Fares Through the Roof

In the past few years inter island air fares have incased dramatically along with a reduction in the number of seats. While Hawaiian Air is a good airline it has a operated without real competition since Aloha Airlines went out of business on March 31, 2006.

Since then fares have have risen four and five fold, adjusted for inflation. While it is proper for Hawaiian to make a profit, the current capacity restrictions have created a monopoly market. One way fares have gone from $59 shortly after Aloha’s demise to more than $200 today.

The flight frequency has been drastically reduced. For example, Aloha Airlines had thirty-one flights per day from Honolulu to Maui. Twenty-three daily flight from Kona to Honolulu. There was service between Hilo and Kona and between Kona and Maui. There were at least five flights per day between Kona and Maui. Hawaiian offered similar frequencies. Today, it is a struggle to get between Hilo and Kona or Maui and Kona. Some airports previously served by jet aircraft are either not served at all or served by small propeller airplanes on an unreliable basis.

As an Island state, air service is vital to residents for recreation and business alike.

Fare wars are not the answer as they only provide a short term benefit to the traveler and can be terminally harmful to an airline.

Starting an airline is an arduous undertaking, but there might be a solution with an airline like Alaska who already has a trans pacific presence here and operates Boeing 737s.

Service and fares will probably never return to the good old days but the presence of another reputable airline in the market would be welcome. I have often said there is room in the island market for 1.5 carriers. We just need to find the .5.

Aloha timetable 1990 2

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