Route Analysis: Los Angeles-Honolulu

Southwest Airlines plans to enter the ultra-competitive leisure market in June.

On May 13, Southwest Airlines unveiled a major expansion in Hawaii, announcing 15 new routes and three new mainland gateways. Service begins as soon as June 6, with flights starting from Las Vegas (LAS) and Los Angeles (LAX), with Phoenix (PHX) becoming the third new Hawaiian gateway on June 27. 

Each airport will receive four new leisure routes to Hawaii—to Honolulu (HNL), Maui (OGG), Kona (KOA) and Lihue (LIH)—starting over the course of the summer season.

The three join Southwest’s exiting airports serving Hawaii of Long Beach (LGB), Oakland (OAK), Sacramento (SMF), San Diego (SAN) and San Jose (SJC). SAN will also gain new routes to OGG, KOA and LIA, with HNL flights becoming double-daily from June 6.

Of the 15 new nonstop routes, analysis of data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser shows that competition on the LAX-HNL sector is set to be the fiercest. 

Looking at schedules for w/c July 5, Southwest will face direct competition from six other carriers, with Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Sun Country Airlines and United Airlines all serving the market.

In total, there will be 61,325 two-way weekly seats between the destinations, with Dallas-based Southwest offering 4,900 of those. During the same week two years ago, there were 58,166 two-way seats between LAX and HNL.

Sabre Market Intelligence data shows that O&D traffic between Los Angeles and Honolulu totaled 1.4 million two-way passengers in 2019, a rise of 3.5% on the previous 12 months. In 2020, the figure was 443,000.

LAX-HNL

Carrier:

Southwest Airlines

Aircraft:

Boeing 737-800/MAX 8

Frequency:

1X-daily (2X-daily from June 27)

Start date:

June 6, 2021

Distance:

4,107 km

O&D traffic demand (2019):

1.4 million

Annual growth:

3.5%

Average base fare (2019):

$265.06

Photo credit: Getty Images / ozgurcoskun