Outsourcing helps keep Hawaiian hiring locally
RUSSEL Yamashita's visceral disapproval of outsourcing by Hawaiian Airlines (Letters, Star-Bulletin, July 27
) is misguided. By outsourcing some operations, Hawaiian has been able to not only employ more people in Hawaii than any other airline but also employ more people today than we did before we started outsourcing. Today, we are the fastest-growing airline in the United States and this would not have been possible without outsourcing.
As fuel and other costs rise inexorably, we must find ways to cut costs so that customers can travel at prices far below what they would otherwise be paying. It is clear what readers of the Star-Bulletin are most concerned with: the number of letters to the editor addressing the price of interisland fares dwarfs that concerned with outsourcing.
Many airlines facing this situation have had to slash the pay and abandon the pensions of their employees while cutting the services they offer their customers. We have done neither, preferring to find smarter, more productive solutions. The outsourcing of some operations is among them.
We shared the need to cut costs with our employees and, through their union, reached an agreement. This agreement allowed the company to outsource certain activities in exchange for giving the affected employees a choice: They could either accept a generous separation package or remain with our company in another area of our operations with the benefit of job security. This choice reflected the valuable contributions of these employees to our past successes and our approach to taking care of those we consider ohana, even in difficult times.
The contract was overwhelmingly approved and we are delighted that the majority of employees affected by outsourcing elected to remain with the company. They are now taking care of our customers on the front line and we are proud of the transition they have made and the enthusiasm with which they are tackling new challenges.
Yamashita raises the outsourcing of a contract to provide heavy maintenance for our Boeing 767 jets. The fact is that this work has never been performed in Hawaii. It has been moved from one third-party contractor to another as a result of a competitive bid to reduce our costs while maintaining quality. In doing so, we saved money and reinforced our ability to maintain our employees' standard of living. I am certain they appreciate the diligence with which we seek competitive rates from vendors before we seek savings from them. Heavy maintenance on our Boeing 717 aircraft is and will continue to be performed in Honolulu.
We do not pretend that the decision to outsource positions is without controversy or, in some instances, without pain. In our case, outsourcing a limited number of functions is contributing to making us a stronger business, which is growing, employing more local residents, delivering a product that is second to none and allowing fares to remain low.
As such we are still very much Hawaii's airline.
Mark B. Dunkerley is president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Airlines.