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Hawaiian Airlines lowers prices as Southwest Airlines enters market

HONOLULU — Hawaiian Airlines has dropped prices for some flights as Southwest Airlines enters the Hawaii market.

The Honolulu-based airline began offering low airfares last Monday for flights between Oahu and Maui starting next month, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The airline listed low airfares for most days in May as well, matching Southwest’s lowest price.

The Dallas-based carrier is beginning daily flights between the islands in late April. It’s making its trans-Pacific debut Sunday with a flight from Oakland, California, to Honolulu.

“Southwest is just getting started in Hawaii, and the months of flying that sold out before our first service even arrives indicates an appetite for value in air transportation between the mainland and the state, as well as among the islands,” Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said.

Southwest’s inter-island flights aim to compete with Hawaiian. It will have four daily flights in each direction between Honolulu and Kahului on Maui starting April 28. Service between Honolulu and the Big Island will begin on May 12.

“Hawaii has a hometown carrier that is established, celebrated and enjoys great loyalty for the community service it provides,” Hawkins said. “We’re entering both of those marketplaces to provide an alternative — a different experience.”

It’s launching flights between Oakland and Maui on April 7. It aims to eventually serve four airports in Hawaii from Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento and San Diego.

Hawaiian has held a monopoly on the state’s inter-island market since November 2017 when Island Air ceased operations.

“We strive to offer our guests the greatest value through competitive pricing year-round, our unmatched neighbor island frequency and schedule averaging more than 170 daily flights,” Hawaiian spokesman Alex Da Silva said.

Honolulu travel agent Sally Asao said the low airfares won’t last, so customers must be flexible to make use of them.

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