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Wednesday, June 21, 2000

New airline for
Hawaii-West Coast
service hits snag

The investors, saying they
hope to fly by year's end,
withdraw their application
due to financial woes

By Russ Lynch


Partners who had hoped to have a new airline serving the West Coast and Hawaii by the end of the year have withdrawn their application for federal permission to fly, after failing to raise $38 million in start-up financing.

However, Alan E. Lidow, one of the partners of Oregon-based Airline Partner Associates, said today they intend to reapply by July 7 and still believe they will be flying in the last quarter of this year.

Doing business as Trans Pacific Airlines, they originally said they would operate two leased widebody DC-10-30 jets on daily Portland-Honolulu and San Diego-Honolulu flights.

Documents filed on June 6 with the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington show that the group withdrew its application and a week later the department dismissed the application "without prejudice," meaning the partners are free to reapply in future.

The partners told the department on May 22 they were working with a private capital firm, Structured Funding Group, for the start-up loan.

Airline Partner Associates also said there were two travel-related companies interested in investing $2 million in return for shares in the venture.

Lidow, a Los Angeles business consultant who once was a broadcast reporter, said the group will go back to the Department of Transportation with a new business plan and a new financing plan.

He said the partners were not comfortable with the original financing group and is working on new plans.

When they first filed for an operating certificate in March, the partners told the Star-Bulletin they had experienced airline people working with them and were convinced that a low-cost airline could succeed in the Hawaii market despite the failure of several others in the past. They said they had private capital lined up and were considering a $25 million public stock offering for secondary financing.

The partnership is headed by Brian T. Weathers, a Salem, Ore., travel agent and cruise organizer, who is listed as president and one-third owner. Lidow is a director and one-third owner.

The other partner is Philip E. Boucher of Los Angeles, who is listed as having held executive positions at Trans World Airlines and Gray Line Tours and is now in the tour business.

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