Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Passengers value service,
but don’t want to pay more

Airlines anounce merger
Neighbor isles may be affected most

By Lisa Asato

A merger between rival interisland carriers would be a bad idea if it means higher ticket costs and lost jobs, passengers and workers at the interisland terminal at Honolulu International Airport said this morning.

"The only thing I'm concerned about is an increase in rates -- that might happen," said Henry Rideros, a journeyman insulator from Kona who commutes to Honolulu once a week. "Because there (would be) no competition we might not have a say. It's kind of like a monopoly."

Ralph Snively, who was flying home to Hilo, said he doesn't see anything good coming out of a merger.

"If they set a ticket price, I can't go lower than you because there's only one carrier," he said.

Snively's son works for Aloha Airlines and he's concerned that his son will lose his job as an office manager in San Francisco.

"Hawaiian has an office in San Francisco too," he said. "If they do merge, I hope its not him."

A porter for Aloha Airlines, who did not want to give his name, said he opposes a merger because it may mean he and his co-workers will lose their jobs.

But for Palani Martin, who was flying home to Kauai, the possibility of a merger doesn't bother him as long as the airlines continue to provide regular flights.

"As long as they (continue to) go back and forth among the islands, it's cool," he said.

Greeters of Hawaii owner Peter Fithian said his business should not be affected "if there are the same number of tourists and the same number of airplanes."

Fithian's company provides greeters and operates flower and lei shops at the Honolulu Airport. He said he is waiting to hear exactly what Aloha and Hawaiian have to say.

"A strong interisland air service is essential for a successful tourism industry in Hawaii."

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