Aloha Airlines
cuts Pacific trips

The local carrier drops flights
in the central and south Pacific
regions, citing lack of demand

Aloha Airlines, perhaps signaling a shift in strategy, has eliminated its flights to the south and central Pacific.

Aloha Air

"The airline ... can no longer use valuable assets with a consistently negative return."

David Banmiller
New president and chief executive of Aloha Airlines

The privately held carrier said yesterday that lack of demand prompted it to eliminate twice-weekly flights to Pago Pago in American Samoa and to Kwajalein and Majuro in the Marshall Islands.

Aloha's last flight between Honolulu, Kwajalein and Majuro will be Jan. 10. The last flight between Honolulu and Pago Pago will be Jan. 12. Reservations will be taken through the last day of travel. Passengers booked on future Aloha flights to and from those destinations will be booked on another airline.

David Banmiller, who took over as Aloha Airlines' president and chief executive officer last month after Glenn Zander stepped down, said insufficient demand failed to generate enough revenue to cover expenses.

"In these challenging times when the airline industry is feeling the financial impact of soaring fuel costs, carriers are being forced to make difficult business decisions driven by more tactical use of their aircraft resources in markets that better serve their customer base," Banmiller said. "The airline did its best to be responsive to island communities in the remote Pacific region, but can no longer use valuable assets with a consistently negative return."

Aloha, which earlier this year announced that its last flight to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands will be Dec. 11, has lost money for the past three quarters in which it has reported. Financial results aren't available yet for the third quarter of 2004.

Hawaiian Airlines, which declined to comment yesterday on Aloha's action, flies Mondays and Fridays to Pago Pago. Air Micronesia, a subsidiary of Continental Airlines, flies Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to Kwajalein and Majuro.

Aloha has been flying to Pago Pago on Tuesdays and Fridays and to Kwajalein and Majuro on Mondays and Thursdays.

Oahu travel agents said eliminating the flights wouldn't affect their business at all.

Travel agent Bonnie Gutner of Travel Inc. in Kailua said that at her agency there is "virtually no demand" for those destinations.

"My client base isn't going to those particular places," she said.

Rachel Shimamoto, vice president of Honolulu-based Travel Ways, said her agency sends people on those Pacific flights "maybe five times a year."

"In the beginning, I wondered why they even went that way," she said.

Aloha began serving the Marshall Islands in September 1999 and started serving Pago Pago in December 2003. Hawaiian has been serving Pago Pago since 1984.

Aloha Airlines

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