Category Archives: Aviation

Interisland update, Mark Dunkerly, Hawaiian Airlines & the Garden Island News

Mark Dunkerly, the CEO of Hawaiian Airlines had the opportunity to visit the island of Kauai and spoke at a Kauai Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The Garden Island News responded by writing a story that seems to be a tongue in cheek jab right back at Hawaiian’s most illustrious of all executives.

“Hawaiian Flying High” was the hazily sublimed title of the article.

Mark Dunkerly adressing Kauai Chamber of Commerce

“Flying between the islands of the state is a bargain that is quite, quite, quite remarkable”

OK, one thing for certain is that Hawaiian does not spend nearly enough money advertising with the Garden Island News. A center spread once or twice a week or even a daily banner across the front page advertising Hawaiian’s low fares to Kauai just might solve the problem with this reporters opinion. Most large corporations have huge advertising budgets with the local papers to help curtail unwanted criticism. I’m just saying, everyone else does it.

Well, I would like to give Mr Dunkerly a fair shake. The entire visit to Kauai seems to be an attempt by Dunkerly at defusing building tensions over perceived high airfares with local travelers. So I ask my readers this. Is the criticism of Hawaiian Airlines fair? Are the airfares too high?

I would like to offer a suggestion. Let us pick the easiest “fact check” the normal lay person like me can verify. Rising government taxes and highway projects are hard for us to translate into tangible “yes or no” facts. However there is one thing that Dunkerly claimed that is very easy for us to verify.

According to the article Mark Dunkerley said they have “an average fare one way of $69″ 

oh-really

SIXTY NINE DOLLARS TO KAUAI? lets holo holo!

Well there is an easy number to verify. Go to www.hawaiianairlines.com and check their published one way fares from Honolulu to Lihue and lets all see how easy the $69 average fares are to book. $69 average means there will be fares LOWER than $69 so this is an outright bargain for a one way flight on a jet anywhere. Using the word AVERAGE suggests any of us should be able to find a lower than $69 fares.

Verifying this is easy for anyone to do. Mark seems like a brilliant executive and I can’t imagine he would put out a number like this without it being triple verified.

After a quick check I do see a few $72 fares on the early morning flights (5:14 AM & 5:56 AM only) which is actually a $58 fare with $14 in taxes and fees which comes out to $72. Today is the 7th of January and the earliest I could find a $72 fare is the 19th so 12 days out. Not bad at first glance but do the rest of the facts check out? Is this really an “average” fare and how easy is it to secure a booking at this fare on “AVERAGE“.

Now hopefully we get some readers to comment. I know this isn’t exactly USA Today but anyone out there reading this with an opinion, please feel free to speak your mind.

Much Aloha

ICBM Launch last night off Los Angeles – VIDEO

First the headline on Drudge Report yesterday warned, “US Military Closing Airspace around LAX” or something dramatic. I can’t remember his exact words but next time i’ll try to remember to screenshot his headline.

I guess So Cal residents were “freaking out” last night as they were about to be Nuked or invaded by Aliens or suffer some other Hollywood Blockbuster worthy event as CNN reports here. Reports flooded twitter, facebook and YouTube that there was a big bright blue UFO exploding over Los Angeles last night like in this video below.

PROFANITY ALERT Turn down your volume if you have kiddies around or just prefer not to hear the swearing. While these Los Angelinos insist “it had to be a UFO” there is another explanation. (the “explosion” starts at about 1:09)

Here is the the Navy’s official statement on the event from the Third Fleet’s Cmdr. Ryan Perry via Channel 7, an NBC affiliate in San Diego:

“Navy Strategic Systems Programs conducted scheduled Trident II (D5) missile test flight at sea from USS Kentucky, an Ohio Class SSBN, in the Pacific Test Range off the coast of Southern California. The tests were part of a scheduled, ongoing system evaluation test. Launches are conducted on a frequent, recurring basis to ensure the continued reliability of the system. Each test activity provides valuable information about our systems, thus contributing to assurance in our capabilities.

The missile was not armed. Strategic Systems Programs does not routinely announce missile testing. Information regarding the test launch of Trident II (D5) missiles is classified before the launch.”

Missile-Away!

Artist conception of Ohio Class Sub launching an ICBM

The US Navy explanation seems to check out. Other bloggers have screenshots of marinetraffic.com last night which show the entire area between Pt Mugu and Santa Cruz Island offshore blocked off by the US Navy and the USS Independence Combat Littoral Ship patrolling the area. The USS Kentucky was underwater and the launch of the ICBM probably would have been much more impressive from the bridge of the Independence than any YouTube video.

Much Aloha

 

 

 

Incentivizing Interisland Airline Competition

The Garden Island News has published an article about Kauai County Council asking state lawmakers to explore incentivizing interisland airline competition in the State of Hawaii. The Star Advertiser and KITV have also reported on this proposal, along with others.

I like the spirit of the “Unconquered Island” lawmakers, but lets just stop for a minute right here. The whole proposal has several problems.

First here are a few snippets.

Councilman Ross Kagawa, who introduced the resolution said, “We need to speak up already. Right now this is a serious problem.”

Ann Botticelli, SVP Corporate Communications and public affairs officer, speaking for Hawaiian, said the company keeps its fares low and that a one-way ticket price from Lihue to Honolulu for 12 months ending March 30 was $68 (or $82.70 with taxes).

Rep. Dee Morikawa, District 16 on Kauai, said “Maybe the resolution will spur the discussion”

oh-really

Well I DO NOT think the government, local or federal can fix any problems, perceived or otherwise, with interisland air travel. They can’t force someone IN to business as easily as we have seen airlines forced OUT of business in recent years. New or existing airlines might not want to get tangled too tightly with State of Hawaii lawmakers.

These lawmakers could have just listened to me when I warned them about Mesa back in 2004 but that’s long forgotten history now. An ounce of prevention would have been worth a pound of resolutions and “spurring discussions” but it is now 2015 and both Aloha and Mesa are long gone from Hawaii’s skies.

Mesa left Hawaii’s economy a “scorched earth” (precisely as I predicted in 2004) and Hawaii has barely recovered now many years later. Hawaiian can and will charge whatever the market will bear. No other airline wants to enter the vortex of interisland passenger travel after so many other failed operations in recent history.

The people of Hawaii were played. How did anyone think $19 and $29 tickets would turn out? Just be thankful Mesa’s shame in Hawaii is unforgettable to this day. Hawaiian would eventually chose to use Empire instead of Mesa for their Ohana operation and Mesa would ultimately depart Hawaii for good. Empire is the same certificate holder that operated Mahalo for Robert Iwamoto back in the 1990s. Small world isn’t it?

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737 Freighter Conversions

Happy New Year!

In late 2012 the widebody air cargo market took a plunge. For the most part it has not recovered and remains stagnant.

photo (3)

As 2014 begins the narrow body “passenger to freighter” conversion market is heating up. Below are a quartet of articles that describe the market conditions today with special consideration to the 737 freighter conversions.

As legacy carriers across the planet re-fleet with 737-NG’s, the 737-Classic market has finally reached liquidation prices. Aircraft can be acquired for the price of engines and paint mostly.

Alaska and Ethiopian Airlines are demanding a 737-800 freighter to replace their aging 737-400′s. A 737-800 Freighter will change everything with increased range and 180 min ETOPS capability the 737-Classics do not have.

The race is on for this aircraft. Hopefully we find out soon who will be doing the STC for the 737-NG freighter conversion.

Freighter conversions

Narrow-bodies pace conversion market

A 737-800 Freighter may be closer than you think

Future Of 737NG Freighter Conversions Could Be Decided By Boeing This Year

 

Brand new Airplanes Being Mothballed

NY Daily News is reporting the U.S. Air Force shelving brand new C-27J Spartan aircraft after spending millions They are coming right out the factory and going directly into storage at Davis Monathan AFB.

This is a unique aircraft, about half the size of a C130 and extremely maneuverable.

Both Boeing and Airbus have ended up with “white tail” aircraft from time to time as new aircraft were built but remained unsold.