Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Cayetano reiterates his support, Aloha chief says

Aloha Airgroup President and CEO Glenn R. Zander said yesterday that Gov. Ben Cayetano reiterated his support for the airline's merger with Hawaiian Airlines.

Cayetano last week indicated he might reassess his support, based on comments Zander made in letter to Aloha employees. In the letter, Zander said Aloha was not in such bad shape that it needed a "bailout" from Hawaiian.

"If they thought Aloha would go out of business without the benefit of this deal, they would never have agreed to a merger of equals," Zander said in the employee letter.

Zander said yesterday that in testimony and public forums he never said Aloha was in good financial health.

"Without this merger, neither carrier could continue to sustain losses like those we are incurring in the interisland business," he said.

Reorganization expert named to head Enron

HOUSTON >> Enron Corp.'s board today selected a reorganization expert to guide it through the largest bankruptcy in history and a slew of criminal and congressional investigations into the company's collapse.

Stephen Cooper, managing principal of the New York-based reorganization adviser Zolfo Cooper, was named interim chief executive and chief restructuring officer.

The selection came less than a week after the resignation of Kenneth Lay as chairman and chief executive. A search for a new chairman continues, the company said.

Also today, the board announced the resignation of Lawrence G. Whalley as president and chief operating officer. Whalley will accept a position with UBS Warburg, the Swiss bank that acquired Enron's cornerstone trading operation earlier this month, as agreed by the two parties.

Enron said Cooper would be joined by a team of Zolfo Cooper professionals who will help with the company's Chapter 11 restructuring effort.

Las Vegas to get direct flights from Hong Kong

LAS VEGAS >> Singapore Airlines is planning the first nonstop flights between Hong Kong and Las Vegas beginning in August. A spokeswoman for the company told the Las Vegas Sun yesterday that flights would begin Aug. 2.

Operated by the SIA Group of Singapore, the airline plans three flights a week originating in Singapore, stopping in Hong Kong, then flying directly to Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport. The return flight would go directly to Hong Kong and continue to Singapore.

Japan Airlines, which suspended its five nonstop flights a week between Tokyo and McCarran in October, has said it plans to resume some Las Vegas flights in March and to return to five a week by June.

Singapore's debut in Las Vegas would represent the third nonstop overseas flight to Las Vegas, with JAL offering Tokyo service, and Virgin Atlantic Airlines flying directly between London and McCarran.

Japan Airlines named 'Airline of the Year'

NEW YORK >> Air Transport World, an airline industry trade journal, yesterday named Japan Airlines as "Airline of the Year" for 2002.

The magazine said its editors singled out the Japanese carrier for remaking itself into an efficient, aggressive competitor despite increasing competition in the global airline industry.

According to Air Transport World, Japan Airlines slashed unit costs 38 percent and personnel costs 48 percent since 1992, leading to record profits in its most recent fiscal year.

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