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Love's is in the air in new deal


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POSTED: Friday, May 29, 2009
                       
This story has been corrected.  See below.

Officials from Love's Bakery Inc. and Aloha Air Cargo unveiled “;The Love Jet,”; its newly and locally painted, dual-branded Boeing 737-200F aircraft, yesterday at the Aloha Air Cargo facility.

Bearing the red-and-white gingham-checked Love's Bakery emblem near the front, a red-and-yellow one on its tail and the aircraft's new name, “;The Love Jet,”; on the nose side of the fore doorways, it also bears the Aloha Air Cargo name on its jet engines.

It is a symbol of the partnership between the “;two companies with long island histories coming together to preserve the quality and service that Hawaii residents have grown to expect, and deserve,”; said Mike Walters, Love's president and chief executive officer.

The partnership is not financial in the sense that the bakery has bought into the carrier, but they are “;partners in business,”; Walters said. “;It's much more cooperative, the alliance is stronger.”;

The jet itself will not be dedicated solely to transporting Love's Bakery products, and it is not the only jet in Aloha Air Cargo's fleet that will be ferrying Love's baked goods from Oahu to the neighbor islands, said Mike Malik, president of Aloha Air Cargo.

Nevertheless, one must pity the pilots who must fly with the aroma of fresh bakery goods permeating their senses but who are not permitted to access the tightly wrapped pallets.

The bakery, which returned to local ownership late last year, was sent scrambling to get its goods to retailers and restaurants while still fresh, since Aloha Airlines' cargo operations abruptly shut down at the end of April 2008. One unusual work-around had a Kauai-bound bread shipment routed through Los Angeles, where it got stuck. Service was disrupted for about three days as the bakery and hundreds of other local businesses frantically sought alternatives to Aloha's cargo service, which carried about 85 percent of Hawaii's air-flown cargo.

For Love's one solution was the Hawaii Superferry, which carried its baked goods to Maui until its service was halted by the courts.

Restaurant and retail businesses and consumers were left wanting.

That will “;absolutely not”; happen again, Malik said.

“;We're a much stronger company now, and it's under some real management - and here I am,”; Malik said. “;And so, you know, the company's doing well. We've structured it in such a way, as I've told the employees, with the idea of sustainability - a great, strong foundation, so that what happened to the airline last year will never happen here again, and you have my commitment on that, as long as I am here.”;

The company is one of two surviving units of the former Aloha Airlines. It was purchased by Seattle-based Saltchuk Resources Inc., which also owns Young Bros./Hawaiian Tug & Barge, the Hawaii Fuel Network, Maui Petroleum and Minit Stop Stores in Hawaii.

“;This 737, which is awesome, is a symbol of our commitment to give the families of Hawaii freshly baked bread, doughnuts, pies and snack cakes,”; said Byron Chong, Love's vice president of sales and marketing.

Love's flies 43,000 pounds of bakery goods to Kauai, Maui, Kona and Hilo almost every day of the week.

They will be transported from the bakery to the delivery jets via two 40-foot container trucks wrapped with the jet's image on the sides and emblazoned with the words “;Hawaii's Fresh Express.”;

This is the first time in the state a whole airliner has been painted by an outside contractor, said Jim Straube, founder of Kapolei-based Straube's Aircraft Services Inc.

The jet was painted at Straube's shop at the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station, where it has long done painting work for general aviation, helicopter companies and military clientele as well as go! and Mokulele Airlines, he said.

Established 24 years ago on Maui, the family owned-and-operated business also has facilities in Arizona and Utah.

“;This has been an incredible opportunity for us. We're so grateful to this company for letting us paint this thing,”; Straube said. “;It was a real treat for us, a lot of hard work but a real honor.”;

Prior to blessing the aircraft, the companies and all involved, Kahu Cordell Kekoa engaged the audience a bit by humming a tune and asking whether anyone recognized it. “;Love Boat!”; came the answer. He tied the “;Love Boat”; TV show theme to the “;Love Jet”; name of the aircraft, the name of the bakery company and to aloha, both as the word for love and the name of the air cargo carrier.

 

               

     

 

CORRECTION

       

Friday, June 5, 2009

       

» The name of Jim Straube and his aircraft painting company were originally misspelled as Staube in this article. The correct name of the company is Straube's Aircraft Services Inc.