Isle passengers can choose which airlines will thrive


POSTED: Sunday, December 07, 2008

It is incredible to witness the wave of emotion that the demise of Aloha Airlines and the arrival of go! Airlines has stirred in our beautiful islands.

I am not sufficiently informed to express judgment or to point a finger at one party or the other, but it seems to me that what is needed now is to stop dwelling on the past and focus instead on the future of air transportation in Hawaii.

The loss of jobs is a sad occurrence in any business, but it is an inevitable fact of life. The market force has the prerogative to dictate winners and losers and all we can do is to learn the lesson, roll up our sleeves, move on and be part of a new future.

One thing is certain, every business needs competition. Without competition, the consumer will be held at ransom to the demands of any monopolistic business entity. Particularly sensitive is the air transportation here in Hawaii, where the only way to travel rapidly and economically is by air. We should be mindful of the importance and advantages of having multiple choices.

We should welcome and applaud new entrants in our skies. They will bring us, the consumers, the freedom to decide which one we want to patronize, and will give us the power to choose and not to be imposed upon. Too much has been said and written already as to who did what to whom and why. I submit to you that there is not a single circumstance responsible for the demise of Aloha Airlines. My guess is that a combination of factors contributed to its downfall, one of which was management's lack of vision and inability to adapt to today's competitive environment.

What now? Sad as it was, the collapse of Aloha happened and there is no way back. The blame game will not solve our problems or bring back jobs, nor will it benefit the residents and visitors to our islands. There are now four interisland airlines competing for our business and we, the consumers, have the power to decide which one is worthy of our patronage.


Franco Mancassola was the founder of Discovery Air and Debonair Airways. He also was vice president of international operations with Continental Airlines and World Airways.