ALOHA SHUTS CARGO
Shutdown could stir domino effect
A deal to buy Aloha's contract services has yet to be finalized and might be in jeopardy
Aloha Airlines' unexpected shift to liquidation in its bankruptcy case also could affect another part of the company unrelated to cargo: its 950-employee aviation contract services unit, which handles ground operations for several other airlines that serve Hawaii-mainland routes.
Unlike Aloha's cargo operations, the contract services unit already has a buyer, but that deal has not yet closed.
Last week, Los Angeles-based Pacific Air Cargo won approval from federal Bankruptcy Judge Randall Newsome in Oakland, Calif., to purchase Aloha's aviation contract services unit for $2.05 million, plus accounts receivable. The deal was slated to close this Monday, following a 10-day objection period.
Aloha said yesterday that the court-appointed trustee and Aloha's lender will decide the fate of contract services unit.
Pacific Air Cargo Chief Executive Beti Ward could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Gilbert Kimura, a spokesman for one of Aloha's ground services customers, Japan Airlines, said yesterday that Aloha representatives indicated that they will continue to operate for another 10 days.
"Right now, JAL hasn't been affected," Kimura said. "We aren't making any statements about our contingency plans until we know more clearly what is going to happen."
Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for US Airways, another of Aloha's ground service customers, said that despite yesterday's announcement they expect business to continue as usual.
"We don't expect any disruption to our Hawaii operations," Durrant said.
The contract services unit performs such duties as ticketing and assisting passengers; baggage handling; directing planes to the gate; and cleaning aircraft.