Hawaiian will stay
bankrupt a little

Hawaiian Airlines delays a key
hearing for a reorganization plan
to reach labor contracts

Hawaiian Airlines has delayed a scheduled bankruptcy confirmation hearing of its reorganization plan for a second time to try to reach agreements with its unions that are not under contract.

The postponement to Feb. 22 from Feb. 8 virtually ensures that the company's Chapter 11 reorganization will extend into a third year. Hawaiian filed for bankruptcy on March 21, 2003.

A hearing on a competing reorganization plan for the carrier still may be heard on Feb. 8. The group consisting of the Hawaiian Investment Partners Group LLC, Hawaiian Reorganization Committee LLC and Hawaiian Airlines pilot Robert C. Konop has declined a request by attorneys for Hawaiian Airlines trustee Joshua Gotbaum to postpone the hearing after having two previous hearing dates postponed.

If Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris approves, the group could send a reorganization plan to creditors to compete with the plan being proposed by Gotbaum, investment group RC Aviation LLC and the airline's unsecured creditors' committee.

Hawaiian has agreed to continue negotiating with its pilots following two days of talks in Los Angeles this week. Hawaiian has asked the court to impose a contract on the pilots.

"The meetings were productive in that we had some good and direct communication with the company," said Jim Giddings, negotiating committee chairman for Hawaiian's Air Line Pilots Association unit. "We shared our perspective and developed a better understanding of their perspective on things."

If the pilots and the company cannot come to an agreement, the two sides are scheduled to argue in Bankruptcy Court on Feb. 14 and 15 on whether the court should impose a contract.

"We think it's important to meet and negotiate because a negotiated contract better serves the interest of Hawaiian and its pilots," Gotbaum said.

Hawaiian, which has received ratified contracts from unions representing its dispatchers and network engineers, could pick up another contract with Monday's vote by the clerical workers unit of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

That unit, along with the mechanics unit of the IAM, earlier failed to ratify temporary agreements.

Randy Kauhane, assistant general chairman of the IAM unit representing the clerical workers, hopes to win approval. The clerical workers unit represents Hawaiian's largest union group with 1,349 members.

David Figueira, the mechanics committee chairman, said his 371-member group would not be included in Monday's vote and no vote has been scheduled.

The Association of Flight Attendants' Hawaiian Airlines unit postponed a ratification vote following the IAM's ratification rejections. However, Sharon Soper, president of Hawaiian's AFA unit, said yesterday that the union has decided to proceed with a vote.

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