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Inter-Island Competition May Be Evolving

Remember when Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines were the Inter-Island Choices?

Time was that the Hawaiian islands were served by two very competitive airlines; Aloha And Hawaiian Airlines.  A couple of decades ago, Aloha Airlines went out of business, with just Aloha Cargo left to carry the moniker.  In the intervening years, Go Airlines and Island Air have given Hawaiian Airlines a little competition, but Hawaiian Airlines remains the primary inter-island carrier to date.

Fast forward to the next decade and the air carrier picture could look much different.  With the recent purchase of Go Airlines by Lanai’s Larry Ellison, who already owns Island Air, there may be a re-awakening of inter-island competition.  With the addition of new aircraft in the form of fuel-efficient ATR-72’s and new leadership, Island Air could roll out some much needed relief in inter-island airfares.

Hawaiian Airlines recently added ATR-42’s to use in servicing Lanai and Molokai, Island Air’s primary routes.  Remember, Ellison originally purchased Island Air in order to improve air service to his resort island of Lanai.

Will Alaska Air and Southwest Airlines fly Inter-Island?

And, rumors continue about Southwest Airlines interest in the inter-island market since they are already preparing to add Hawaii to its routes.  There has also been talk of Alaska Airlines looking into inter-island flights in addition to the competition they already give Hawaiian Airlines into Hawaii from the west coast.

However all of this shakes out, the real winner at the end of all this jockeying for the inter-island market may just be the consumer, especially island residents who travel between islands for business and pleasure.  Of course, it could also help to boost outer-island tourist numbers as well.  It could mean all the difference in a one-island visit or a multi-island experience to budget conscious travelers.

Care to share your thoughts and insights on this inter-island question?

Fare Buzz

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