Aloha took employees of Eastern under its wing
As I read of Aloha Airlines' failure, it is so sad to see this pearl of the Pacific lose its luster. I had the fortunate experience to work at Aloha in 1989 on an 11-week contract as an aircraft mechanic following the Aloha jet incident. Aloha had come to Miami and contracted for 30 mechanics to come and assist them in completing their aging aircraft inspections. We all had just lost our jobs at Eastern Airlines and were looking for work; Aloha came to us for help and they helped us through a low point in our lives.
In my career in the airline industry I enjoyed my former company and the brotherhood involved. But I have to say without reservation that Aloha, its people and its aloha spirit was the best job that I had ever had in this rapidly changing industry. All I can offer is my love and appreciation for the Aloha family.
Mahalo and aloha.
Fl Morris / fmorris@StarBulletin.com
Aloha Airlines employees were on hand as passengers on the airline's last flight arrived at Honolulu Airport's Interisland Terminal last Monday aboard flight 261 from Kahului, Maui. Tyson Fiesta, holding the sign, hugged Kanani Stern.
Things just won't be the same in our skies
Whoever "Friends of Aloha" are that are running those "Mahalo Aloha Airlines" ads on TV using the last Aloha Airlines commercials are really hitting home.
All the finger-pointing and blame-seeking detracts from the reality that one of our beloved icons since territorial days is gone. Both Hawaiian and Aloha airlines evoke feelings of Hawaii just by looking at their aircraft flying free, and the greater majority of their employees portray to the world what aloha and Hawaii are all about.
With the added demise of ATA, we now know that the financial condition of other airlines is just as shaky given the volatility of aviation fuel prices worldwide, and that Aloha Airlines died due to predatory pricing and high fuel prices.
The ad running on TV is correct. Hawaii will no longer be the same without Aloha!
Local airlines used predatory pricing, too
I'm truly sorry about all the Aloha Airlines employees who are now out of work, although many should and will be hired by the remaining carriers, I suspect, as additional segments are added to their schedules to handle increased demand.
However, it's also important to remember that predatory pricing by Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines (when it was locally owned) made victims of both Discover and Mid-Pacific Airlines, both of which were forced out of the local market in decades past. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Aloha Airlines might have been locally operated, but it certainly was not locally owned since it exited bankruptcy in 2006. Employee wage and benefit concessions were not enough to make a go of it. Poor management practices and the cost of fuel more than anything else led to its current demise.
Gilbert D. Butson
Taxpayers should provide safety net
The April 1 Star-Bulletin
carried a number of wrenching stories about the tough economic challenges facing laid-off Aloha Airlines employees. How will we be able to afford medical care for ourselves and our children, they asked, how will we pay the rent and mortgage?
The question one must ponder is: Why are these working people (and those who have lost their jobs at Molokai Ranch and Norwegian Cruise Lines) being forced to bear the chaos of the so-called "free market" themselves? Where are the public social programs to support them through these bad times?
Rather than wasting enormous amounts of money on absurd wars, we should be providing all of our citizens with a basic income floor and national health insurance. This would alleviate some of the worst misery and anxiety of being laid off. Most civilized countries in western Europe have long done this. Let's stop insulating the rich and greedy corporations like Bear Stearns from the havoc they cause and begin providing protection to those working people who really need it.
How could they help if they didn't know?
Aloha Airlines' closure is a lesson in economics for the investors and the workers; both lose. However, Aloha's comptroller and CEO should shoulder the responsibility for that.
It's easy to pass the blame on to go!, fuel prices and the recession, but the decision to go toe-to-toe with go!'s discounted fares was seemingly the wrong one.
Go!'s passenger capability and flights are one-half of that of Aloha. What, if any, info was received from the Aloha/ Hawaiian bankruptcy contingencies is moot, as all carriers have to deal with fuel prices, unions, wages, airport fees and taxes. The break in fuel taxes for Hawaiian and Aloha for their national/international routes did not affect go!
If Gov. Linda Lingle didn't know the financial status of Aloha to intervene, where did Aloha think help would come from? Bear Stearns is not a good analogy as the feds were trying to save national and international economies from a possible disastrous plunge.
It would really be sad, though, if the bosses at Aloha got bloated severance pay for their mistakes.
Color and gender don't determine ability
Black, white, gray, male or female, matters not. May the most capable and the best qualified man or woman win the nomination and thus the presidency of the United States of America.
Obama's upbringing wasn't that harsh
Brenda Drummond-Squires' letter of March 24
, regarding Barack Obama's "harsh" treatment and upbringing in Hawaii, needs clarification.
Obama was born in Honolulu and attended a high school full of rich kids on a scholarship. When he graduated, his grandmother and grandfather were there with hugs. His father left his mother when Obama was 2 years old and he was raised by his mother and grandmother in Manoa, a middle-class and upper-middle-class neighborhood.
When he left Hawaii, he has written, he wanted to be identified as an African American. In Chicago, he joined a church of mostly African Americans, and despite the hateful sermons by the minister, he did not leave that church, possibly because he didn't want to jeopardize this identity. (Incidentally, in Hawaii some white people are treated harshly.) And that's the truth as I see it.
It's not HOT lanes versus fixed guideway
Proposals have circulated suggesting that HOT lanes or a Pearl Harbor tunnel are alternatives to a fixed guideway system. The Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization has reviewed these options and concluded that 1. they are not alternatives, but complementary options to pursue when funding becomes available; and 2. funding is not available.
Based on technical analyses, extensive public outreach and financial assessments, OMPO approved a comprehensive transportation plan for 2030. Some of the major components include expansion of the bus system, a fixed guideway system and about $3 billion of highway improvements. Although we could have used more projects, that was all we could afford.
HOT lanes and the Pearl Harbor tunnel were not included as parts of the $3 billion highway package, but instead were included in the "good to have if funding were available" category. HOT lanes were not included because the state does not have the authority to collect tolls; and the tunnel was not included because of its $7 billion estimated cost. In order to develop a doable plan, we are restricted from including any project where funding has not been firmly established.
Gordon G.W. Lum
Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization