Aloha Air promotes
Web site discounts

Aloha Airlines is cutting interisland fares for members of its frequent-flier program who book through the company's Web site, and allowing more flexibility for passengers who buy more expensive fares, the company's chief executive said yesterday.

The new fares for AlohaPass members will be unveiled Monday, Aloha Chief Executive Glenn Zander said after a meeting with state lawmakers from the Big Island and Maui. There is no charge to join the frequent-flier program.

Zander said travelers can pay more for tickets that allow them to change flights without having to pay a change fee, or less if they do not anticipate changes to their travel plans.

Interisland fares available to travelers who are not AlohaPass members will not be affected. They range from $74.50 for tickets purchased at least a week before travel to $100.50 for a ticket purchased within three days. Buying through Aloha's Web site currently provides a 5 percent discount, and nonmembers will be still be able to get that Web site discount.

Hawaiian Airlines will wait until Monday to decide its response, said spokesman Keoni Wagner. Hawaiian's interisland fares range from $74.50 to $110.50.

Zander announced Aloha's new fares following a meeting with lawmakers to discuss interisland fares and the number of direct flights between Hilo, Kona and Kahului.

"We lost the Maui-Hilo connection and the Hilo-Kona," said Sen. Lorraine Inouye (D, Hilo-Honokaa).

The lack of flights discourages tourists from traveling between the Big Island and Maui, because they first have to travel through Honolulu, said Rep. Jerry Chang (D, Piihonua-Kaumana).

"Of course, the price is the same, but the inconvenience prevents tourists from flying to Hilo. And that's an economic problem for us," Chang said.

The lawmakers said they were pleased with the new fares and a promise by the incoming new owner of Island Air to increase the number of flights between the Big Island and Maui. Aloha Airgroup, parent of Aloha Airlines, said it is selling its Island Air subsidiary, which flies smaller, turboprop planes.

The transaction is expected to be completed by March 1. Charlie Willis, head of partnership Gavarnie Holding LLC, which is buying Island Air, promised to add more aircraft and routes.

Zander said the airline is making money.

"Aloha's never been healthier," he said. "This year, we will report a profitable year."

Lawmakers plan a similar meeting with Hawaiian Airlines executives.

Aloha has 66 scheduled round trips a week between Hilo and Honolulu, while Hawaiian has 41.


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