OK, the fleet issues wouldn''t be nearly as bad as people think. The 757 and 767 have the same rating. The 717s are super-efficient, but could always be ditched for the 84-seaters AWA has through Mesa, which would solve two problems: dealing with fluctating demand on the Islands, and AWA''s having to receive more RJs that it doesn''t want. And AWA already is phasing out the 732s, they''ll be gone by the end of 2004. That leaves the 733s, which could be dumped for more Airbuses, if necessary, or kept.
Some other "plus" thoughts:
-- AWA is the only major airline with low enough labor rates to make a HNL hub work. And with operations all across the country, AWA could add HNL flights to places like ORD, ATL, DFW that HA doesn''t fly to currently.
-- Folding HA into AWA would eliminate a lot of fixed costs. I think the HA operation would go profitable overnight.
-- AWA''s "fair fares" would be well-suited for travel to/from the Islands. I think the HA/AWA codeshare is far from its potential because, from what I can tell, AWA can only sell seats to HNL, but HA sets the pricing. An AWA/HA could easily lock up the majority of business travel out of the Islands, and a good bit of it to it, because biz fares to/from Hawaii are exorbitant. At last, Hawaiians would have a "hometown" airline that could take them anywhere in the U.S. Just as ALK has a captive market up north, AWA could have one here.
-- If AWA could add HNL to its system with, in a worst case, no hit to profitability, and with a good chance to make a good chunk of change, why not?
-- PHX is a natural connecting point for Hawaii traffic, roughly halfway between the East Coast and the Islands.
-- The 767s would allow the possibility of PHX flights to LGW or CDG, should AWA wish to dream, or other trans-Atlantic possibilities if AWA ever looks to move into an Eastern hub.