Aloha AirALOHA AIRLINES announced it will cut 37 of its daily interisland flights next week because of a lack of air travel and heightened security costs due to last week's terrorist attacks.
cancels 25% of
The airline says it will cut 37
of its interisland flights next week
due to a 'financial crisis'
Hawaiian says it is assessing the
effects of last week's events
By Rod Antone
Aloha officials said the situation caused a 25 percent to 30 percent drop in interisland air traffic, leaving them in a state of "financial crisis."
"The situation is critical and we can only hope it does not worsen," said company president and Chief Executive Officer Glenn R. Zander.
The reduction in flights will also be followed by a reduction in staff through furloughs. Aloha Airlines employs about 3,000 people in Hawaii and on the mainland.
As of yesterday, airline officials said the exact number of cuts to be made is not known.
"We've been discussing the furlough situation with union leaders," said Aloha spokesman Stu Glauberman. "It includes pilots, flight attendants and airport personnel.
"We are still reviewing personnel requirements for reduced schedule and we will be notifying employees throughout the company this week."
Glauberman said a schedule of exactly which flights are being canceled is not yet available, though he says it will affect all islands. Aloha currently offers 150 interisland flights daily but is expected to drop to 113 daily flights by Monday.
In some cases, interisland flights between certain islands will be canceled altogether.
Aloha Airlines flights between Maui and the Big Island will be discontinued. Aloha's sister airline, Island Air, will instead provide service on 37-seat DASH-8 aircraft on the Kapalua-Kona and Kapalua-Hilo routes.
"We have no choice but to suspend them as they are our least economically viable service," Glauberman said. "All airlines are looking for ways to cut costs to stay alive.
"We hope to restore service and staffing as it becomes possible."
Aloha's competitor, Hawaiian Airlines, is also expected to make changes to deal with the lack of air travel.
As of early today, company officials said they had nothing to announce yet.
"We're still assessing last week's effects," said Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Keoni Wagner. "But two and a half, close to three days of no revenue generation but full expenses is a dangerous condition to be in."
Chief executive officers from both Aloha and Hawaiian met with Gov. Ben Cayetano yesterday to discuss getting financial support from the federal government along with some sort of relief from federal anti-trust laws.
Federal law currently prohibits airlines from discussing things such as fares and flight schedules with each other.
Some airline industry officials feel that if Hawaiian and Aloha are allowed to openly talk to each other, it would better coordinate air traffic, allowing both airlines to spend their resources more efficiently.
Aloha will operate Boeing 737-200 ETOPS flight service to Central Pacific destinations and continue daytime freighter and overnight Boeing 737-200QC flights for cargo business.
Despite the air-travel crisis, Aloha will continue its mainland flights to Oakland, Orange County and Las Vegas.
"Hawaii is our home and we are committed to doing all we can to promote tourism to Hawaii and help our state's economy," Zander said.