Thursday, August 19, 1999

Aloha mainland! Airline spreading wings

The Hawaii carrier announced
today that it will start service
to the mainland

By Peter Wagner


Aloha Airlines today announced plans for daily flights to Oakland, Calif., a bold venture outside its core interisland service.

The new twice-daily flights were unveiled at a joint news conference with Gov. Ben Cayetano, Aloha President Glenn Zander and BancWest Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Walter A. Dods, Jr.

The round-trip flights, serving Honolulu and Maui, are to begin in February.

Two new 124-seat Boeing 737-700 aircraft will be used with low-end fares to serve budget-conscious travelers, Zander said. The airline said the new jets will be configured with 12 first-class seats and 112 coach seats.

The airline is spending about $80 million to inaugurate the service, $10 million of which was financed by BancWest, parent of First Hawaiian Bank, to establish ground facilities, train pilots and other start-up costs. The balance of the investment will go into leasing the aircraft from Australia-based Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services.

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Gov. Ben Cayetano, left, joined with Chairman and CEO of BancWest Corp.,
Walter Dods and Glenn Zander, President of Aloha Airlines in announcing
the airline's expansion into the Hawaii-mainland market.

Oakland, which has no direct flights to Hawaii, is the kind of niche market Aloha is looking to expand into, Zander said. "We're going into a secondary market," he said. "Nobody's serving it right now."

Zander noted Hawaii travelers going to the Bay Area will be able to bypass the traffic of San Francisco by touching down in Oakland across the Bay. And Oakland is a growing area with a vibrant economy fed by nearby Silicon Valley, he said.

Zander indicated that Oakland could be the first of several new destinations the airline is considering.

"We think there are under-served markets in every direction from Honolulu," he said.

Aloha currently serves several markets outside Hawaii, including weekly charter flights to Johnston, Christmas and Midway islands.

The airline plans to start scheduled service to the Marshall Islands in September.

For the Oakland service, customers should be able to book the flights after fare and scheduling information becomes available in 30 to 45 days, the airline said.

Aloha's move to the mainland comes as it faces increasing pressures from larger airlines, including United and American, that have been expanding their Hawaii service with direct flights from the mainland and Japan to the neighbor islands.

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