Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Pleasant Hawaiian says thanks to firefighters

Ed Hogan, founder of California-based Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays and related companies, has found a way to say thank you to California firefighters who helped out in rescue work at the World Trade Center and to also raise money for families of firefighters who died.

Hogan and his travel partners are offering a week-long vacation on Oahu or Maui for $250, with air travel and accommodations included, to qualifying California firefighters, with all proceeds going to the NYC Fallen Firefighters Fund. The "Rest and Relaxation Holiday" program, working with the Los Angeles Fire Department's community service unit, has already raised $44,000, Hogan said.

United schedule will be the same in November

United Airlines, saying its Hawaii passenger loads are better than those of its system as a whole, will not reduce its Hawaii schedule any further in November. Early after the Sept. 11 attacks, United cut its daily schedule by one San Francisco-Honolulu flight and one Los Angeles-Honolulu flight, but still has three daily flights from those two cities.

In all, United has 17 mainland-Hawaii flights a day, including some direct service to Maui and Kona, plus one Tokyo-Honolulu flight. The airline recently warned of possible layoffs in Hawaii. Joe Hopkins, a spokesman at Chicago headquarters, said there will be some layoffs but details are still being discussed.

Classic Vacations gets $24.3 million infusion

Classic Vacation Group, a San Jose-based business that sells tour packages to Hawaii, Mexico and elsewhere, has arranged funding to help it recover from the travel slump that followed the Sept. 11 attacks. Its own main shareholders and investors will provide $24.3 million.

In the process, the partners will also make a tender offer of 15 cents a share, to expire Dec. 31, for all the Classic Vacation shares they do not own. The infusion of capital will come from CVG Investment LLC, an affiliate of New York-headquartered Three Cities Research Inc., and Thayer Equity Investors III, LP.

The Thayer group already owns 67 percent of Classic Vacations shares, which are listed on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol CLV. If the tender offer succeeds, Three Cities Research will own 80 percent of Classic Vacations and Thayer will own 20 percent.

Ron Letterman, Classic Vacation president and CEO and a former American Express Travel head in Hawaii, said travel has been picking up but new capital is still needed.

The company has cut 220 jobs since the Sept. 11 attacks, citing decreased demand. Its stock closed at 13 cents yesterday, down 53 cents.

In other news ...

Passenger traffic continues to rebound at Northwest Airlines, but the carrier continues to lose money, the airline's chief executive officer said.

"While our load factor is rising, it's not enough to cover our operating costs," Northwest CEO Richard Anderson said.

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