ALOHA TARGETS RIVALS' ROUTES
STAR-BULLETIN / MARCH 2005
Aloha Airlines plans to add twice-daily nonstop flights between Kahului, Maui, and Lihue, Kauai, as well as between Kahului and Kona on the Big Island. An Aloha Airlines flight departs Honolulu.
Aloha to resume direct flights between neighbor islands
Aloha stopped flying between the neighbor islands two years ago
Aloha Airlines, which stopped flying directly between neighbor islands more than two years ago, will restart limited service in September in a move that will put it in direct competition with former sister carrier Island Air and larger rival Hawaiian Airlines.
The new routes will include twice-daily nonstop flights between Kahului, Maui, and Lihue, Kauai, as well as between Kahului and Kona on the Big Island. The direct flights on Aloha's 127-seat Boeing 737-200s will allow passengers to bypass a stop in Honolulu.
"Aloha is responding to our customers' wishes, making it easier and faster to travel between the islands on the only Boeing 737 jets in Hawaii," said David Banmiller, Aloha's president and chief executive.
Aloha spokesman Stu Glauberman said the carrier is making room for those flights by eliminating some of its service to those destinations from Honolulu. He said Aloha will still fly hourly between Maui and Honolulu, as well as Kauai and Honolulu.
Island Air, which was sold by Aloha Airlines' parent, Aloha Airgroup Inc., to San Francisco-based Gavarnie Holding Inc. in 2004, also flies those routes. Hawaiian Airlines flies all those routes except for Lihue-Maui. Hawaiian also flies Hilo-Maui. Island Air CEO Rob Mauracher could not be reached for comment and Hawaiian declined to comment.
Jonathan Ornstein, chairman and CEO of Mesa Air Group Inc., the Phoenix-based parent of interisland carrier go!, said go! intends to concentrate on its new Honolulu-based service that began on June 9.
"At this time we're just focused on the routes that we are currently in and to develop them to their fullest extent before we look at new routes," he said. "We might look at developing some of those routes that don't go through Honolulu with a partner utilizing our brand and our partner's operational capabilities."
Go!, which now is operating four aircraft on its interisland service, has added a sixth daily trip from Honolulu to Hilo starting on July 14, as well as an additional Friday and Sunday trip to Kona, according to go!'s online schedule.
Ornstein said Mesa is continuing to look at opportunities in China, and that Chief Financial Officer George "Peter" Murnane just returned from there this week. He was there with aviation consultant Mo Garfinkle, who now works for Mesa after previously having consulted for Hawaiian.
"We continue to look at what we think are exciting opportunities there, but those things take time," Ornstein said.