United/Continental Merger and Flights to Hawaii
United Airlines has agreed to buy Continental airlines in a $3 billion stock deal. The deal will make them the worlds largest carrier. Although many people involved in wall street with the airline industry believe this is a good step forward, it is speculated that it will negatively effect travel to the Hawaiian Islands.
More than likely the merger will decrease the total number of flights (seats) available to Hawaii. With the current state of the economy and tourism down from what it was in 2008, it will not hurt the Hawaii tourism industry roughly 90% of the year. There were several weeks late December 2009 and early 2010 where travelers could not get to the islands due to no flight availability. It is speculated that these times of year will be worse and there will be a few more weeks where flights will be sold out to Hawaii.
The decrease in competition within flights coming to Hawaii will also cause a rise in cost. This is speculated to be the largest issue for Hawaii with the merger. Travelers could find this as being an issue as early as June 2010. It will more than likely allow Hawaiian Air to increase their rates, which were already increased in 2009 due to Aloha Airlines closing business.
The effects of the deal are just speculation by experts in the airline industry. Hopefully the deal will not continue to hurt tourism to the Hawaiian Islands.