Aloha CEO Banmiller's statement to Bankruptcy Court
Editor's note: Here is the statement that David Banmiller, president and chief executive officer of Aloha Airlines, read to the federal Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday after the company's reorganization plan was confirmed by Judge Robert Faris:
THANK YOU, Your Honor, for allowing me this opportunity to address the court. If you perceive a softness in my tone, and perhaps a slip of the tongue here and there, it relates in part to a lack of sleep -- due in part to Your Honor's challenging words of yesterday. I must say, though, that sleep is overrated.
I will not take up much of the court's time, Your Honor, but the significance of this moment in the evolution of Aloha Airlines deserves comment.
In the 60-year history of this fine company, Aloha and its employees have never faced greater challenges: an industry in chaos, 50 percent of U.S. airlines in bankruptcy, unbridled competition, and oil at unprecedented levels.
The employees and local ownership of Aloha have continuously stepped forward, making contribution after contribution for its very survival. Had it not been for such efforts, we would not be standing before you today.
"In the 60-year history of this fine company, Aloha and its employees have never faced greater challenges."|
Chief executive officer and president of Aloha Airlines
AS YOU KNOW, I am a relative newcomer and have been through a few "economic Vietnams" in this industry, but none as challenging, certainly sometimes frustrating, but on the whole no more satisfying than this experience, and I have enormous respect for everyone involved.
It is always risky to highlight certain individuals and situations in such a case, but I have chosen to take the risk because this accomplishment is all about teamwork, sensitivity when needed, and most of all, focus on the end game with extraordinary people.
We have asked our employees and their union leaders three times in the last several years to step up to tough stuff. In every instance, they made the tough decisions. Their willingness to make sacrifices while maintaining top-quality service to our valued customers, says volumes about the Aloha spirit within the heart and soul of these fine people.
I particularly wish to thank:
» Dave Bird, chairman of (the master executive council for the Air Line Pilots Association);
» Peggy Gordon, president of (the Association of Flight Attendants/Communications Workers of America);
» Randy Kauhane, assistant general chairman of (the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers 141);
» Ken Boon, assistant general chairman of IAM 142;
» David Durkin, president of (the Transport Workers Union).
» The shareholders, and in particular the Chings and Ings, have a long and cherished history with this company. When I joined, I asked to be given the latitude to make the tough decisions without undue influence or avoidance of the myriad of business decisions that had to be made.
The shareholders were true to their word, and allowed the management team to execute, and they put cash behind their words.
» Our management team, some new but with an outstanding support staff comprised of a team of veterans in this business, many who are residents of this state, hung in there, put up with my idiosyncrasies and saw the ranks of VPs dwindle, dynamically increasing their workload -- with never a complaint.
» Hawaii's federal-, state- and county-elected officials, and all of our vendors, who have reached out during this past year. ... Without their support, we also would not have succeeded in getting this far. To them we owe thanks.
» Our customers, for their loyalty bringing cash in the door with every ticket sale. They provided the hope for our company to get through each day.
» Our team of professionals, led by Paul Singerman of Berger Singerman; Char Sakamoto Ishii Lum & Ching led by Betty Ishii; the Giuliani Group led by Marc Bilbao; our lead banker First Hawaiian Bank led by Don Horner; our local counsels Don Gelber and David Farmer; the unsecured creditors' committee chaired by Capt. Michael Feeney and guided by lead counsel Brett Miller; and Sheldon Kline of Thelen Reid.
» And many, many more who made this happen, we thank you.
MY COMMENTS would be far from complete without recognizing the presence of both Richard d'Abo of Yucaipa and Willie Gault of Aloha Aviation Investment Group. Without their financial commitment and support, this company would not be here, especially considering the rejections we faced in the investment community. I personally thank them, as well as Ron Burkle, for their confidence in the employees of this fine company.
And finally, Your Honor, you, too, have made the tough calls, sprinkling wisdom and experience with at times a level of common sense, humor and sensitivity that does your profession honor. You should take great pride, Your Honor, if I am permitted to say, in what has gone on this past year. Hopefully, this will be your last airline case in the islands.
And now, I assume you can renew your AlohaPass membership and continue to be one of our most-valued customers.