Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

Allegiant Air officials announced last week that the company will end its nonstop service between the U.S. mainland and Honolulu in August, bringing to a close the low-cost carrier’s relatively brief, and at times confusing, run in the Aloha State.

Allegiant debuted flights to the Islands in 2012, offering nonstops connecting Honolulu with Las Vegas and Fresno, Calif. The airline later announced routes linking Hawaii with nonstop service to smaller gateways such as Boise, Idaho; Spokane, Wash.; Eugene, Ore.; and Santa Maria, Calif.

At one point, as many as 10 Allegiant routes between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland were flying or in the works, but some of those segments never got off the ground.  Announced service between Honolulu and Monterey, Calif., was scrapped even before the first flight. Other segments were suspended not all that long after being inaugurated.

Allegiant now offers U.S. travelers on the mainland just two nonstop segments to Hawaii: one linking Honolulu and Los Angeles, the other flying between Honolulu and Las Vegas.

“We’re leaving Hawaii because the competitive market is uncertain, and likely to worsen over the coming years,” Jude Bricker, Allegiant’s senior vice president of planning, said in a video to the company’s 46 Hawaii-based employees last week.

“We’ve seen the initiation of service from Virgin America to Hawaii,” he added later. “I think over the next several years we are going to see Southwest in the market.”

Bricker also noted that in coming years Hawaiian Airlines will be adding several Airbus A321neos, aircraft that he indicated would mean even more competition for Allegiant.

“The performance of that aircraft can only be applied on the West Coast to Hawaii [market],” he said.

Along with the increased market competition, Bricker cited Allegiant’s desire to get rid of its fleet of six Boeing 757 aircraft, operated currently by the company on its Hawaii routes, and to instead focus further on the carrier’s ongoing effort to fly only Airbus A320s. Allegiant’s 757s are also apparently due for a significant maintenance investment in the near future.

 “The aggregate value of all that work is about $50 million,” Bricker said. “We feel those dollars are better spent in our A320 growth plans.”

Still, Bricker did repeatedly mention disappointment regarding Allegiant’s departure from the Hawaii market, but he maintained that the carrier had reasons to be proud, calling the last several years serving the Aloha State a success while noting that the carrier had flown “650,000 passengers to and from the Islands on about 3,500 flights.”

“We’ve launched new nonstop service to markets that have never had service to Hawaii before,” he added. “I think many of the passengers that flew on us to Hawaii wouldn’t have been able to go but for our really low fares.”

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