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.

QE2 Stops in Hawaii for the Last Time

QE2 in Honolulu

Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) cruise ship made its last stop ever in Hawaii on her current iteniary yesterday (March 25). She came into Honolulu Harbor early yesterday morning (at around 5 am) and left early this morning at 1:00 a.m. The legendary cruise liner is on its way to Los Angeles, retirement and the history books.

Late this year Cunard Line will retire the QE2 . The mighty ocean liner will be sold to an investment firm in Dubai where she will set sail for in November. Once there she will be refurbished and converted to a “floating luxury hotel, museum, retail and entertainment destination.”

The QE2 has been a regular Honolulu port visitor on her annual around the world cruises. Upon leaving Honolulu today, she set sail for Lahaina, Maui.

More photos at:

Larger version of the top photo:

QE2 in Honolulu
QE2 graced Honolulu Harbor for the last time ever on March 25, 2008.

First Hawaiian Auto Show

The annual 2008 First Hawaiian International Auto Show held at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu was the usual mix of jaw drooling, expensive, automotive eye candy that mixed the old classics up with the latest offerings from the auto manufacturers and local dealers. In this day and age when the price of gas is creeping up to $4 or more per gallon, our fascination with all things automotive is long ingrained within us. The opportunity to see, smell, touch and sit in the multi-thousand dollar technical wonders without high pressure sales people hounding us is one of the hallmarks of this annual show.

Cars on display ranged from the latest exotics to practical sedans, in all price ranges from $15,000 to more than $200,000 each. My favorite cars of the day included the 2008 Lexus LS600 Hybrid, the practical 2009 Toyota Corolla (I own a 1993 model). the classic Ford Mustangs and vintage Volkswagens.

Of course many photos were taken as exemplified by the samples below.

Vintage Ford Mustang
Vintage 1965 Mustang up close

2008 Infiniti

Interior Shot 2008 Lexus LS 600
The $114,000 Lexus LS 600 interior.

1956 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
The vintage Volkswagens were my classic favorites.

More Photos:

Last Honolulu Call for the Maxim Gorkiy

Maxim Gorkiy @ HNL, originally uploaded by macprohawaii.

This ship has been an annual visitor to Hawaii for several years. About a week ago I was notified by one of her passengers that this year’s stop would be the last. The Maxim Gorkiy is being retired from the firm that operates her.

The aging cruise ship came into Honolulu Harbor early this morning, followed by her corporate sibling the Amadea. Maxim Gorkiy arrived in Honolulu on a cruise segment from Fanning Island and left tonight for Japan.

Phoenix Reisen, a German charter firm has operated the ship for 20 years, retaining her mostly Russian crew. The ship while built in Germany is owned by a Russian firm. More information on the Maxim Gorkiy can be found here:

More photos at my Flickr site.

Gene Simmons Rocks SBH Conference

Gene Simmons of Kiss with Debbie and Winnie
KISS front man and A&E TV star Gene Simmons was in town last week to be the keynote speaker at the annual Small Business Hawaii Conference. The guy is the consummate promoter and entrepreneur. His foray into rock n roll was just was the launching point for his plan to become rich and diversify into a number of successful business enterprises. He said to a packed house at the SBH conference that a good businessperson does not put all of his eggs into one basket. Good advice I say for all.

Simmons was spotted at a number of locations on Oahu as he and the film crew from A&E recorded several segments for his successful cable TV show “Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels“. His appearance at the SBH Conference was extensively videotaped with segments to air this spring on A&E.

Mr. Simmons was the founding member of the rock group KISS, who have been together for more than 30 years and enjoyed success on the Billboard charts with hits such as “Rock n Roll All Night,” “Beth,” “Hard Luck Woman.” and “Christine’s Sixteen.” They have reportedly sold more records than The Beatles and Elvis in the United States.

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