Wall Street Is Begging Hawaiian Airlines for Basic Economy
The past few years have seen many airlines introduce a basic economy product. So, it wasn't a big surprise when Hawaiian followed suit last year, announcing the bare bones fare class would be instated in 2019.
Now, in a new report, one well-respected Wall Street analyst wants the airline to launch the product as soon as possible, rather than sticking with the current timeline to launch later this year.
Analyst Helane Becker from Cowen Equity Research said in a Wednesday report that for Hawaiian, "basic economy can't come soon enough."
Why the sudden push for no-frills fares from Wall Street?
Hawaii as a destination currently has plenty of capacity, which is keeping fare prices depressed. Capacity is going to grow even more once Southwest gets airborne and island bound. This is great news for thrifty air passengers who want to head to the islands. Round-trip flights from Los Angeles(LAX) to Honolulu(HNL) can currently be booked for an average of less than $500 with Hawaiian. For investors, however, this over capacity poses a risk to profits.
Wall Street wants the airline to launch its basic economy product ahead of schedule to better compete once Southwest launches its much-anticipated service to Hawaii. The new fare class would allow Hawaiian to shore up revenue as passengers opt to pay for higher classes of service to avoid the restrictive product, or pay additional fees for conveniences like choosing their seats ahead of time.
With the government shutdown delaying Southwest's entrance into the market, Hawaiian has some time get out ahead, although the window to do so is shrinking. It remains to be seen if the airline will heed the pleas from Wall Street and makes changes to the launch timetable for its basic economy product.