Alaska Airlines is exiting a daily Kona flight that alternates between San Francisco and Sacramento.
However, the change doesn’t impact the carrier’s seat outlook in Hawaii since it’s increasing service from San Jose and San Diego.
Alaska currently flies between Sacramento and Kona three times a week and offers four times weekly service between San Francisco and Kona. As of March 19, these routes will end.
However, Alaska Airlines spokesman Daniel Chun said the Seattle-based carrier is balancing the cuts by bringing both San Jose and San Diego up to once-daily flights to each of the four major Hawaii airports, including Kona.
“The primary reason for this change is to match the demand of our guests. It’s all about flying where our guests want to go, and when they want to go there,” Chun said. “Since there is no net decrease due to this change, there is no impact to our seats outlook.”
In addition to San Jose and San Diego, Alaska also serves Kona from Oakland and Seattle, and has seasonal service from Anchorage and Portland.
Alaska’s route changes come as competition heats up between Southwest Airlines, which entered the Hawaii market on March 17, and Hawaiian Airlines, the hometown carrier. While the competition has sparked fare wars, it’s also creating pockets of overcapacity in some markets, particularly in Northern California.
Southwest Airlines’ most recent Hawaii expansion, announced last week, puts its daily trans-Pacific seat count approaching that of Alaska Airlines, which on any given day allocates about 4,800 to 4,900 seats for its Hawaii service.
“We’re the leader in air seats from the West Coast to Kona, Maui and Kauai,” Chun said.
Currently, Alaska offers the most daily flights to Hawaii from West Coast states (California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska) of any carrier. In that market, Alaska averages 29 daily flights on 30 routes, serving four islands. But further inroads into California by Southwest will spark more competition with Alaska, which began serving Hawaii in 2007.