Go! goes ahead with Hilo fare hike


POSTED: Saturday, July 11, 2009

Interisland carrier go! increased its lowest one-way fare from Hilo to Honolulu by $20 yesterday, one day after warning that a state-imposed 371 percent increase for the use of the Hilo Airport waiting lounge would result in higher prices.

Go! is now charging $63 for outbound Hilo-to-Honolulu flights because the so-called holdroom fee is assessed from the departure airport. The other half of a round-trip fare — from Honolulu to Hilo — is still $43, but an error by Sabre, the airline's computerized travel reservation system provider, resulted yesterday in passengers also being charged $63 for the Honolulu-Hilo leg.

Paul Skellon, vice president of go!, said those passengers assessed $63 for the Honolulu-Hilo leg would be credited for the $20 difference.

Skellon defended the Hilo-Honolulu increase after the state Department of Transportation, citing airport activity and revenue and expenditure forecasts, boosted the holdroom rate it charges airlines at Hilo to $18.43 a passenger from $3.91. It is 100 times higher than the holdroom rate of 18 cents a passenger at Kona Airport.

“;We had no intention in raising fares, but it's in direct response to the new rates,”; Skellon said.

DOT spokeswoman Tammy Mori said the agency is “;re-evaluating the rates at this time.”;

“;Our airports administration today contacted each of the affected air carriers in Hilo to let them know that we are re-evaluating the rates,”; she said. “;We will reconvene with them early next week with the decision that is made.”;

Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Keoni Wagner and Mokulele Airlines Chief Executive Scott Durgin said yesterday that they were studying the situation.