74 more in airline layoffs


POSTED: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The employee shakeout from the go! Mokulele joint venture has now reached 137 with the layoff of 74 Shuttle America employees who helped operate Mokulele Airlines' since-abandoned Embraer jets.

A filing with the state Labor Department late Monday said the Honolulu base closure would result in those employees—pilots, flights attendants and mechanics—being terminated as of Oct. 31.

However, Scott Durgin, president and chief executive officer of Mokulele, said the 74 employees—who worked for Republic Airways' Shuttle America subsidiary—were given offers to transfer to the mainland.

The layoffs follow the furlough last Wednesday of 63 Mokulele employees who worked in customer service, such as ticket and gate agents. Durgin said the intent is to bring those agents back if go! Mokulele decides to take over ground-handling duties from outside vendors.

“;We said they should expect to be on furlough for a minimum of 30 days and that the company is going to cover any employee costs if they're enrolled in a company health insurance plan,”; Durgin said.

He said the remaining 95 Mokulele employees are handling the operation of the airline's four Cessna Grand Caravans. Go!, owned by Mesa Air Group, has 93 employees.

Still undecided in the employee carousel is the status of the 180 people employed by Mesa's ground-handling agents, Swissport and Aloha Contract Services.

Durgin said the operation of the joint venture has smoothed out since debuting last Thursday.

“;We've got to the point where it's an automated transfer of the reservations between the Mokulele reservation system to the go! Mokulele reservation system,”; he said.

He said the joint venture has 80 flights a day and that load factors, or percentage of seats filled, as well as on-time performance have been in the upper 80 percent range.