Aloha to Aloha Airlines

Aloha Airlines 737-200

Aloha Airlines announced that it is shutting down passenger operations after tomorrow (Monday, March 31). The price war has ended, and flying interisland will become more expensive with less competition and less airplanes flying between the islands. Mesa’s Go Airlines recently increased their fares by $10, so that the lowest priced seat starts at $49. It will be a long, hot summer ahead for the flying public of Hawaii.

Here is Aloha’s press release:

Aloha Airlines announced today that it will be shutting down its inter-island and transpacific passenger flight operations. Aloha’s last day of operations will be Monday, March 31, 2008. On that day, Aloha will operate its schedule with the exception of flights from Hawaii to the West Coast and flights from Orange County to Reno and Sacramento, and Oakland to Las Vegas. Code-share partner United Airlines and other airlines are prepared to assist and accommodate Aloha’s passengers who have been inconvenienced.

For more information on United’s accommodation options, contact United at 1-800-UNITED1 or Passengers who do not wish to be re-accommodated by another airline should contact their travel agent or credit card company to request a refund. Effective immediately, Aloha will stop selling tickets for travel beyond March 31, 2008.

The shutdown of Aloha’s passenger operations will affect about 1,900 employees. Aloha also announced that its air cargo and aviation services units will continue to operate as usual while the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeks bids from potential buyers. On March 27, 2008, Saltchuk Resources, Inc., announced its intention to buy Aloha’s air cargo business.

“This is an incredibly dark day for Hawaii,” said David A. Banmiller, Alohaís president and chief executive officer. “Despite the groundswell of support from the community and our elected officials, we simply ran out of time to find a qualified buyer or secure continued financing for our passenger business. We had no choice but to take this action.

“We deeply regret the impact this will have on our dedicated employees who have made Aloha one of the best operating airlines in the country. “Aloha Airlines was founded in 1946 to give Hawaii’s people a choice in inter-island air transportation.

Unfortunately, unfair competition has succeeded in driving us out of business, bringing to an end a 61-year-old company with a proud legacy of serving millions of travelers in the true spirit of Aloha. “We realize that this comes as a devastating disappointment to our frequent flyers and our loyal business partners who have supported this company for many, many years.”

It is sad to see a long time firm like Aloha Airlines shut down. A changing marketplace (Go Airlines), high fuel costs, bankruptcy, no buyers for their passenger operations and a possible slowdown of the economy may be attributed to the airline’s demise.

Interisland air travel will certainly be different without Aloha’s noisy 737s flying the Hawaiian skies. Prices certainly will spike higher. I and many others will probably travel less between the islands as prices creep up.

Hopefully Hawaiian Airlines, Island Air, Go! and the Hawaii Superferry can make adjustments to fill in the gap that will be left by Aloha Airlines’ departure.


Melvin Ah Ching is a photographer, consultant, blogger, desktop publisher, and computer enthusiast living and working in Hawaii. The Hawaii Files have been online since 2006.