Aloha unit buyer will try to keep workers
Pacific Air Cargo says the employees are the 'heart' of the company
The chief executive of Los Angeles-based Pacific Air Cargo said the company plans to keep as many employees as possible from the newly acquired aviation contract services unit of Aloha Airlines.
Pacific Air Cargo won approval Thursday from the federal bankruptcy court to purchase Aloha's aviation contract services unit for $2.05 million, plus accounts receivable. The deal is set to close May 5, following a 10-day period in which objections can be lodged.
Aloha said the unit has about 1,100 employees.
"We will certainly try to hire as many as possible that want to say," said Beti Ward, who was scheduled to arrive in Honolulu yesterday from Los Angeles.
Pacific Air Cargo does not have a union, and Ward did not indicate whether she would endorse union representation. Aloha's contract services unit is represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District Lodge 141.
"I'm not familiar with them at this point," she said. "I need to obtain more information."
Randy Kauhane, assistant general chairman of IAM District Lodge 141, said he was hoping to meet with Ward as soon as possible.
"It's better for the continuation of the operation if she continues using our people," Kauhane said.
Aloha's contract services unit handles ground operations for other airlines, such as Japan Airlines, Korean Air Lines, American Airlines and US Airways. Those duties include ticketing and assisting passengers, baggage handling, directing planes to the gate and cleaning the aircraft.
"They will be utilized much in the same way as they are now," Ward said. "They are the 'heart' of Aloha contract services. They know the job and do it well. I have good reports from the contracts that they service. They are well liked and am told they do an excellent job."
David Banmiller, president and CEO of Aloha, said the transaction "will be a positive one for our employees and our contract services customers."
Before acquiring the Aloha unit, Pacific Air Cargo already was performing similar contract services for charters and Australian-based carriers Qantas and Jetstar.
Founded in 2000, Pacific Air Cargo provides express air cargo service with Boeing 747 freighters between Los Angeles and Honolulu, including service to Pago Pago, American Samoa; Guam and the Polynesian island of Niue.