Are Hawaii Flights On Airline Chopping Blocks Next?

When United announced this week that it is axing 50 flights a day out of Newark, the handwriting on the wall became clear. Hawaii flights, which have been relatively untouched for various reasons, won’t likely remain so.

United wants to tame uncontrollable delays, such as we are also seeing in Hawaii. In this case, United said delays were based on airport constraints including construction and capacity. Hmm. That isn’t likely the whole story, but UAL is denying its staffing shortage is a contributing factor.

The current rate of Hawaii flight cancelations is unlike anything that’s ever happened. With Hawaii flights, weather is almost never an issue, so it comes down to staffing and particularly pilot shortages, perhaps discontent at the airlines, as well as management (according to the pilots’ union). So far this year, United has had a third of its Newark flights delayed.

Delta, Southwest, American and Alaska, have all reduced their schedules. So far, Hawaii flights have been relatively spared, except for one airline.

Thus far, Alaska has canceled flights between Anchorage and Honolulu until November. When they announced that in April, Alaska said, “We continue to adjust our operating schedule to meet our staffing levels.”

Southwest on the other hand has axed its nonstop flight between Maui and Long Beach. They’ve also removed upcoming flights between Los Angeles and Lihue, Los Angeles and Kona, Phoenix and Lihue, and Phoenix to Kona.

American Airlines is cutting some routes from Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia. But nothing to Hawaii

Last month, Delta announced it’ll eliminate 100 flights from its daily schedule to better align its resources with flights. Routes cut include some from Atlanta, Boston, and Detroit. Here, too, Hawaii flights as far as we see, remain on schedule.

Starting this month, Southwest Airlines is cutting six routes from Dallas, Washington, and Richmond.

Hawaiian Airlines hasn’t indicated any specific problems or plans to reduce flights.

Every airline flying to Hawaii, except one (Hawaiian), has said that flight schedule adjustments are either in process or upcoming in relation to reduced staffing, and especially pilot shortages. Clearly, last minute cancelations and flight delays of the scope which we’ve seen, benefit no one.

We asked Hawaiian Airlines about the unprecedented flight delays they and other carriers have been encountering, especially at Honolulu and Maui. Alex DaSilva, Director External Communications, responded to us by saying, “There hasn’t been a single issue that’s driven delays. It’s a mix of factors and varies, but the one constant this summer is the volume of travelers (overall airport congestion). We take our reliability and punctuality seriously and the teams continue to meet daily to find ways to keep us on time. “

We’ll keep you updated on this developing story…

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