Hawaii Seems Likely To Delay Its Reopening– Here’s What That Means For Airlines

Hawaii appears set to delay its reopening for tourists amid a spike in coronavirus cases across the mainland United States. While discussions are ongoing, it seems that the August 1st reopening date will be pushed out further. This could create an issue for airlines hoping to tap into additional revenue streams.

Hawaii is looking at delaying its reopening. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

Delayed reopening

KHON2 of Hawaii reports that Governor David Ige and four county mayors are preparing to delay Hawaii’s reopening. Currently, the state is expected to lift its mandatory quarantine from August 1st and start reopening to more tourists.

Originally, the state was preparing to open up for out-of-state travelers if they received a COVID PCR test at approved locations. Negative test results would waive the requirement of a 14-day quarantine for travelers. No testing would be available at the airport.

Airports in Hawaii would continue to conduct temperature checks. Anyone with higher than a 100.4F temperature or else had other symptoms would need to undergo secondary screening.

Hawaiian relies heavily on tourism from the mainland. Photo: Getty Images

A worsening situation on the mainland

In the last few weeks, the situation in the mainland US has worsened, and Hawaii’s government has taken notice. The island state had one of the strictest quarantine restrictions with hefty penalties for those who violate it.

One of the most robust sources of tourists comes from the US mainland. As a domestic beach destination, the islands are a favorite for many children and adults alike. However, the state is concerned about a large outbreak. KHON2 reported Lieutenant Governor Josh Green as stating the following:

“There’s no doubt that we will delay the timeline. The only question is, will we be capable of giving a specific date so that people can begin the next stage of plans, or are things too chaotic that we have to just pause?”

A bad situation for airlines

Especially for Hawaiian Airlines, a delayed reopening for mainland tourists would significantly impact the ability for carriers to return to profitability. Most airlines offer stronger schedules to Hawaii than other island getaways like Aruba or Barbados due to its ease of access for US tourists.

Hawaii is also a big place for international tourists. However, foreign citizens will have to wait a little longer until the US opens up access for more tourists. Right now, carriers are still flying to Hawaii, but a lot of revenue is also coming from cargo. Do the state’s isolated location, air carriers are the best choice for bringing in essential cargo.

Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines was awaiting a return to Hawaii. Photo: Getty Images

The Hawaiian market has also become more competitive. Southwest has started flying to the islands and many carriers offer multiple daily flights to several cities, including Honolulu, Hilo, Maui, Lihue, and more. Operators, including Alaska Airlines, were eagerly anticipating the island’s opening.

An official announcement is expected in the coming days. However, for now, it appears that quarantine-free vacations to Hawaii will be delayed a while. How long, though, remains to be seen.

Do you think Hawaii should delay its reopening? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!