Hawaiian Airlines working on possible pricing options for locals

Published: Dec. 6, 2011 at 11:35 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2011 at 12:00 AM HST
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Lani Weigert
Lani Weigert
Mark Castagnetti
Mark Castagnetti
Jon Sakata
Jon Sakata
Lynn Kunitake
Lynn Kunitake

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Since coming out of bankruptcy in 2005 Hawaiian Airlines has found success expanding service to all over the world.  Now some want Hawaii's biggest airline to give locals a deal on flights.

There are a lot of variables involved in pricing airfare.  A big one is fuel.  Hawaiian Airlines says it will pay $200 million more on fuel this year than last year.  Still it's working on ways to lower fares for local customers but passengers may not want to get their hopes up too high just yet.

There is an online petition urging state lawmakers to get a kamaaina rate for interisland flights.  The form claims to have almost reached its goal of 3,000 signatures.

State Senator Malama Solomon wrote in an email she has followed up with Hawaiian Airlines management and claims they are working on a kamaaina program that will be introduced to the public very soon.

Passengers are on board with the idea of special rates for locals.

"I would be really excited by that. So I can't wait I hope whoever is pushing for that gets it through," said Lani Weigert, Hilo.

"Anytime I can fly at a cheaper rate it's going to give me more options and options are what you want in life," said Mark Castagnetti, Hawaii Kai.

"If the flights were cheaper I'd fly more often," said Aiza Corpuz, Wailuku.

"It would help us out, the local people the way prices are nowadays it's getting ridiculous charging for a bag, every bag you bring on. So every little bit helps," said Jon Sakata, Kona.

"That would be great. I'd probably travel more," said Lynn Kunitake, who lives in Kapolei and her parents are on Maui.

Passengers say they'd visit family more often and it would help small businesses and employees that travel often like Lani Weigert who lives in Hilo but commutes to Maui and all over the state.

"I'm a platinum member so I fly quite a bit so I probably fly several times a month, but if there was a kamaaina rate I fly in addition for personal reasons just to meet family not just for business," said Weigert.

While excitement has taken off the idea itself hasn't quite left the terminal.

"I think that everybody knows about how the increasing cost of fuel has affected all airlines and this has forced us to adjust our airfares, but what people may not know is that this year Hawaiian Airlines fuel bill will be $200 million more this year than last year. These cost burdens we are trying to balance with our fares, but against this backdrop Hawaiian Airlines has been working hard to save in other areas. That has allowed us to keep fares more affordable than they are for similar distance travel elsewhere. We're constantly working at keeping costs down to keep fares affordable. We know how prices affect our local customers and they depend on us for transportation between islands. For some months now we've been working on developing options for them. We're committed to providing safe, convenient and affordable neighbor island travel and we will announce offerings to our employees and customers as soon as they're ready for sale," said Keoni Wagner, Hawaiian Airlines Public Affairs Vice President.

There's no timeline on when that will happen or how much of a discount they're talking about.

To view the online petition click here.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.