Tag Archives: Kauai Chamber of Commerce

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

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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