Monday, September 17, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

The Army National Guard watched tired Japanese
tourists Saturday at Honolulu Airport. Canceled
flights like the ones these people were booked
on proved costly for airlines.

Aloha, Hawaiian
say it’s too early
to predict effects

Isle carriers can not estimate
their losses yet, but are eager
for Congressional aid

By B.J. Reyes

Hawaii's two largest air carriers said it is too early to tell how their business might be affected following last Tuesday's terroristic attacks, which have severely reduced air travel and prompted the nation's fifth-largest airline to announce sweeping job cuts and the possibility of bankruptcy.

"We know that there will be effects on our business, the extent of which may not yet be known," Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Keoni Wagner said. "What we're looking at going forward is not good."

Aloha Airlines spokesman Stu Glauberman said simply, "It's too early to say" how air travel to and from Hawaii will be affected.

Their comments came a day after Continental Airlines announced it was cutting 12,000 jobs and may have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of disrupted service stemming from the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Above, an exhausted 5-year-old Kusuge Ikumi rested
his head Saturday on the luggage of his parents,
Hiroyuki and Nagako, at Honolulu Airport. Unfortunately,
they and everyone in line around them could not catch a flight.

Tuesday's attacks, in which four domestic flights were hijacked and crashed, have scared many would-be travelers out of the sky, forcing airlines to dramatically cut back service.

Additionally, some analysts have predicted airline stocks could drop as much as 60 percent when markets reopen today, and airlines have called for billions of dollars in government aid.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D, Honolulu) sought to reassure the public that Congress is doing what it can to ensure the financial stability of the airline industry as well as other sectors of the economy.

"We have to assure the country that not only is it safe to fly, but they can have confidence in any business they're going to undertake," Abercrombie said yesterday by telephone from Washington, D.C. "The main thing is to get grants and loans available in such a manner and in such a way ... that it will enable airlines to keep flying and will encourage people to do it."

That was welcome news to Hawaii carriers.

"It's good news if it happens," Wagner said. "It is vitally important, particularly in Hawaii, where the tourism-based economy is so dependent on air service."

Georgette Deemer, a spokeswoman for Continental in Honolulu, said it was too early to know if the job cuts might affect people in Hawaii, but added that the airline has no immediate plans to alter its flight schedules in the islands.

She agreed that government assistance will be important for Continental and all airlines.

"Continental does believe that the legislation is critical, and joins other airlines in supporting the measure," Deemer said.

Abercrombie said action on a plan to help out the airlines could come as early as this week.

Bloomberg news service contributed to this report.

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