Tickets for Aloha,
Hawaiian might rise

Both airlines are looking into
raising their fuel surcharges

Aloha and Hawaiian airlines officials said they are considering whether to follow the lead of American Airlines, which increased its fuel surcharge on ticket prices yesterday.

"I just found out about the American Airlines fuel surcharge increase. Our pricing people are looking at it right now, and we haven't made a decision on that," Hawaiian Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Dunkerley said after emerging from a meeting with a group of state lawmakers.

Aloha Airlines officials, who met with lawmakers last week, are also studying the fuel surcharge increase, said spokesman Stu Glauberman.

Texas-based American Airlines, the world's largest, announced plans yesterday to increase its fuel surcharge to $26 for domestic round-trip travel, up 30 percent from $20.

If Aloha and Hawaiian follow suit, it would increase the cost of tickets by about 3 percent. The Washington-based Air Transport Association trade group estimates that fuel costs account for about 10 percent of airline costs.

Dunkerley said most airlines planned their air fares expecting fuel prices to remain around 80 cents a gallon. But, he said, fuel prices have increased into the low 90s.

The lawmakers, all of them from the neighbor islands, have been meeting with interisland airline officials to express their concerns about high air fares, a drop in flights between Hilo and Honolulu, and the lack of direct flights between the Big Island and Maui.

The lawmakers also met with the buyers of Island Air yesterday.

Following their meeting with lawmakers last week, Aloha officials announced lower fares for its frequent-flier customers who purchase their tickets from the company's Web site. The lower fares apply to a limited number of seats on interisland flights.

Dunkerley said Hawaiian is not ready to respond to Aloha's lower fares.

"We're studying it, and at the moment we are not changing prices," he said.

Dunkerley said Hawaiian, which is under federal bankruptcy court protection, is also not ready to increase the number of flights between Hilo and Honolulu, the airline's least profitable route.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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