photo by Cubbie_n_Vegas
Only days after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (for the second time in as many years), Hawaiian carrier Aloha Airlines announced that it will terminate all passenger service effective today. The airline has been fighting a three-way price war with Hawaiian Airlines and startup go!, which is owned by Mesa Air Group.
"This is an incredibly dark day for Hawaii," said David A. Banmiller, CEO of Aloha. "Despite the groundswell of support from the community and our elected officials, we simply ran out of time to find a qualified buyer or secure continued financing for our passenger business. We had no choice but to take this action." In a statement released by the airline, Aloha said that it "deeply regret[s] the impact this will have on our dedicated employees who have made Aloha one of the best operating airlines in the country... unfortunately, unfair competition has succeeded in driving us out of business, bringing to an end a 61-year-old company with a proud legacy of serving millions of travelers in the true spirit of Aloha."
Hawaiian Airlines met with Aloha early yesterday to try to work out a deal to save Aloha. The deal was viewed by Aloha executives as a "last resort", and would have involved Hawaiian keeping the Aloha name alive and operating inter-island and possibly a few inter-island routes. But the deal fell through after Hawaiian was willing to put up only about $5 million in cash (in comparison, Aloha was losing $5 million a month). This is indeed sad news for aircraft enthusiasts, too - Aloha was the last scheduled operator of the Boeing 737-200, and one of these airplanes was painted in a retro livery a few years ago.