New airline Go Hawaii preparing to launch
Hawaiian Airlines files suit to block its entry for at least two years
And the name of Mesa Air Group Inc.'s new interisland airline is ... Go Hawaii.
Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa's chairman and chief executive, said yesterday he would neither confirm nor deny that name. But a person close to the situation said Mesa already has selected that moniker for when the independent airline begins service early in the second quarter.
Mesa also registered the name www.iflygo.com for its Web site in September, according to Internet registrar Network Solutions LLC. The Web site is not yet publicly accessible without a password.
The Phoenix-based carrier was hit with a lawsuit earlier this week by Hawaiian Airlines, which is seeking to block Mesa's entry into Hawaii for at least two years. The suit says Ornstein had access to proprietary information obtained through a nondisclosure agreement when Mesa was looking into investing in Hawaiian two years ago.
Ornstein said he "certainly hopes for the people of Hawaii and ourselves" that Mesa's arrival in the islands is not delayed by the suit.
"We've had enough lawyers look at this, and at this point everyone believes it's without merit," Ornstein said. "I doubt it will have much impact. I think a judge will see through it for what it is."
Hawaiian Airlines attorney Bruce Bennett said the federal Bankruptcy Court closely monitored the reviews of data provided online to parties that signed a confidentiality agreement and that Mesa representatives visited the electronic data room 60 times* and downloaded about 2,000 pages,* including future projections relating to Hawaiian's business.
"There is a thorough and complete trail," Bennett said.
Mesa has been negotiating with Honolulu Airport for space in the commuter terminal, according to Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. The commuter terminal currently houses Island Air, Pacific Wings and Mokulele Airlines, while Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines occupy the interisland terminal.
Ornstein said Aloha is to be congratulated for its emergence from bankruptcy yesterday.
"It's a hard process, and they've done a good job restructuring," he said. "It's been tough, but in the end it will have proven to be very worthwhile. They deserve a lot of credit for pulling together."
Then, in a rebuke to the pending suit from Hawaiian, Ornstein added, "I would urge people to fly Aloha until we get there."
Thursday, February 23, 2006
» Mesa Air Group Inc., which is planning on entering the interisland Hawaii market, accessed an electronic data room containing Hawaiian Airlines records six times and not 60 times, as was attributed to Mesa by a Hawaiian Airlines representative in an article on Page A1 Saturday. Mesa, which is being sued by Hawaiian, accessed 60 documents and downloaded more than 2,000 pages during those six visits, according to the complaint filed with federal Bankruptcy Court.