Why is changing airline's name to Aloha a 'no go'?


POSTED: Sunday, December 21, 2008

I want to comment on Thursday's “;Honolulu Lite”; column by Charles Memminger, and I will start with the same type of style as the article begins.

There is something quite pathetic about someone trying to make a point when there is none to be made. I will skip commenting on the jungle of thoughts about exclamation points, commas and whatever else was thrown into that article because ... the author lost me! (Sorry, I needed an exclamation point.)

I also won't enter into the merit of corporate names starting with a lower-case letter. I just want to point out that the name of one of the most successful airlines in the world starts with a lower-case letter: easyJet. Sound familiar? Maybe not. Google it.

  The article raises the question of go! Airlines wanting to use the name Aloha. What's the big deal here? “;Aloha”; is a common Hawaiian word, same as “;go”; is a common English word. And as far as the airline is concerned, don't kid yourself. Outside of Hawaii and perhaps some other states, the connection between the name and the airline is almost nil. Much bigger names have disappeared over the years - Pan Am, TWA, Eastern and Swissair, just to name a few - and the world moved on without shedding a tear.

I don't want to enter into the merit of Aloha/go!, as I am not sure if the column was a piece of opportunistic populism or just written to please the neighbors. Whatever the reason, it is off the mark.

The author gives the example of the Big Three automakers. It is a poor example. Here are some facts:

We all know and admire the mighty Ferrari. Do you know who owns Ferrari? A car manufacturer that for years was derided in many places - Fiat. That's right; Fiat, the maker of the puny Fiat 500, owns the great Ferrari, as well as Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Lancia.

Whoever proudly drives a Jaguar S-type will be disappointed to know that Jaguar is owned by Ford and the S-type is built on a Ford Mondeo chassis. Yes, Ford owns Jaguar, as well as the Scandinavian pride Volvo (which it is now trying to sell to the Chinese).

How about the mythic Rolls Royce? Owned by Volkswagen.

The magnificent Bentley is now owned by BMW and so is the Mini.

  Look behind the names of banks, local or national. You will be shocked to see who the real owners are. But they carry on using their original names. If it makes business sense and it pleases the consumers, that is all that matters.

  As you can see, names of companies and businesses have been traded for decades and there is no badge of honor attached to it. Every brand has its time and then quietly disappears, never to be heard from again. It has been proved over and over; the market has a very short memory.

The world has changed, my friend, and is moving forward. Hurry up and jump on board - otherwise, you might be left behind.


Franco Mancassola was the founder of Discovery Air in Honolulu, Debonair Airways in the UK and was vice president of international operations of Continental Airlines and World Airways.