$19 airfare lower than cab ride
Mesa's go! continues to push Hawaiian and Aloha by offering a $19 one-way interisland ticket, far cheaper than a taxi to the airport
Would you believe $19 airfares?
Mesa Air Group's go! -- whose low-priced tickets fueled an interisland fare war that brought strong rebukes from the state's two largest carriers -- is planning to drop prices again.
The new interisland carrier, which led the way with one-way fares of $39 and $29, was expected to announce this morning a $19 "Hero" fare that must be purchased by midnight Sept. 30 and can be used for travel through Feb. 28. Tickets were due to go on sale beginning at 7 a.m. today.
Mesa Air Group's go! is introducing a special one-way fare today for interisland travel
New rate: $19 one way between Honolulu and Lihue, Kahului, Kona or Hilo. Fare does not include applicable fees and taxes. Seats are limited and might not be available on all flights.
Purchase window: 7 a.m. today through midnight Sept. 30
Travel period: Today through Feb. 28
Blackout dates: Nov. 9-12, 21-22 and 25-27, and Dec. 22-24 and 29-30
Reservations: www.iflygo.com or call 888-IFLYGO2
Jonathan Ornstein, chairman and chief executive of Mesa, said the name of the special fare, Hero, was conceived by a Mesa marketing executive who thought it was "clever." Ornstein declined to elaborate.
However, a group of Hawaiian, Aloha and Island Air employees banded together earlier this month to oppose go! with a grass-roots committee that calls itself H.E.R.O., standing for "Hawaii's airline Employees Repelling Ornstein."
Go!'s latest fare cut means that flying to a neighbor island will now cost far less than taking a cab from Waikiki to Honolulu Airport. A dispatcher at Charley's Taxi & Limousine said yesterday a taxi ride from Waikiki to the airport costs about $31 or $32.
Mesa's move comes ahead of a crucial ruling by federal Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris on Hawaiian Airlines' motion for a preliminary injunction that would prevent Mesa from selling new tickets for one year. The injunction request stems from Mesa's access to proprietary information during Hawaiian Airlines' bankruptcy. If granted, the injunction would not apply to tickets already purchased.
Faris took the matter under advisement at a hearing last Friday and said he would issue a written decision, without specifying a date.
Ornstein said yesterday he did not think his decision to lower fares would influence Faris one way or another.
"What we're doing from a marketing standpoint has no relationship to what's going on in the legal arena," he said.
"If (Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines) spent less money on lawyers, they could afford to offer low prices, too," he said. "Both companies have spent tens of millions of dollars on legal fees and professional fees surrounding this lawsuit and their bankruptcies. Maybe that money would have been better spent giving people a better deal."
Hawaiian and Aloha both have matched previous go! fare cuts.
Ornstein pointed out yesterday that go! actually has had the lowest fares because a few days ago it quietly lowered its previously announced $29 fares to $28.
"The reason we (dropped the fare to $28) was we intend to remain the price leader in the marketplace," he said.
Go!'s new cut-rate fare marks the second time it has been as low as $19. On June 7 -- two days before its inaugural flight -- go! dropped its fares to $19 and allowed passengers 2 1/2 days to book travel through July 9.
Today's expected fare cut gives passengers a greater window to book tickets and allows a longer travel period: more than five months.
Ornstein said he was not concerned about accusations that Hawaiian and Aloha have made that Mesa is pricing tickets low to force Aloha out of business.
"I'm a lot more concerned about what happens at Mesa," he said. "We have seats available and we'd like to sell them. When the plane departs, the seats have no value, and I'd rather get $19 than get nothing. And if we can introduce more people to go! as well as have people visit our Web site, all the better."
The tickets, which are nonrefundable, do not include post-Sept. 11, 2001, security fees of up to $5 each way and a federal segment excise tax of $3.30 per segment. Blackout dates for the $19 fare are Nov. 9-12, 21-22 and 25-27, and Dec. 22-24 and 29-30.