U.S. Representative says state should step in to help airline
The chairman of a Congressional transportation committee urged state lawmakers to intervene and help Aloha Airlines bail itself out of bankruptcy.
U.S. Rep. James Oberstar (D, Minn.), who was visiting Hawaii this week for other projects, called it a "tragedy" when he heard Aloha had filed for bankruptcy last week.
"Here is an opportunity for the (Hawaii) Legislature to provide assistance to keep this carrier alive," Oberstar said at a news conference yesterday. "The islands are so dependent on air travel. This is your taxi. This is your bus line. You essentially have to maintain this carrier for its competitive service and for the economic impact it means for Honolulu and the whole state."
"Oberstar, head of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, cited a similar situation when Northwest Airlines filed for bankruptcy. With help from the Minnesota Airport Authority and the then-governor, the Minnesota-based company was able to reduce its debt and continue its operations.
"That could be a pattern for support from the state for Aloha," said Oberstar, who added that there is little the federal government could do to help with airline bankruptcy.