Aloha Means Hello . . . and Goodbye?

It looks like high oil prices may have claimed their first airline victim. Aloha Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, and unlike their last stint, I’m not so sure they’re going to come out of this one.

What does that mean if you have a ticket on Aloha? Nothing right now. Everything is operating as scheduled, thanks to bankruptcy court approval but I wouldn’t expect it to stay that way for long.

It’s long been said that there isn’t room for three airlines in Hawai’i, and many accusations have been made that go! came in with the expectation that they could run Aloha out of the market. They may have succeeded, at least, that’s whom Aloha is blaming. It’s going to be awfully hard to come up with a business plan for Aloha in which someone will be willing to invest. I mean, that’s why the current owner decided to cut off funding now. With oil prices where they are and fares as low as they are within Hawai’i, it’s not looking good for the airline.

I hate to say it, but I personally would be hesitant to book a flight on Aloha for an interisland flight more than a couple weeks out right now. You’re probably better off sticking with Hawaiian. The question now is whether or not any part of the airline will survive in one form or another. Seems to me that breaking the airline up might be the best option available right now.

08_03_24 alohabreakupThe long haul flying could be attractive to someone. Might Southwest decide to pick up Aloha’s 737-700s with ETOPS certification? Could be an interesting little operation for them, especially since there’s no way to count on ATA staying in the Hawaiian market right now.

Something tells me this is going to be the first of many bankruptcies this year. If you’re booked on Aloha, you should be fine for now, but you’ll want to keep any eye on any developments that may change that. Probably saddest of all here is that if Aloha does go out of business, it will mark the end of scheduled 737-200 operations in the US. It wasn’t that long ago that America West, Southwest, US Airways, United, Alaska, and Delta were all operating the type.

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22 Comments on "Aloha Means Hello . . . and Goodbye?"

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Jeff K

Very sad about the potential that the 722s won’t be in service if Aloha totally folds (which I also think will be the case). I did have a chance to fly one from OGG to HNL a few years back. The older type thrust reverser is always picture worthy. And flying on a plane that is almost older then I am (38) just makes you feel younger, at least for the 20 minute flight.


It’ll be very interesting to see what happens to that $80 million owed by Mesa. Would that be divied out among the creditors? Did Ornstein sneak out a victory here?

David M

The $80M owed by Mesa is to Hawaiian; Aloha’s case against them hasn’t gone to trial yet.

Nick Barnard

I’m really curious who would pick up the ground handling business… Since it falls into that moderately profitable service to airlines bucket that seems to be the more interesting part.

Hey Cranky,

What is ETOPS?

Thanks Cranky. I guess these certifications are the reason my winter flight path from Newark to Glasgow always kept the smaller planes within coasting distance to Greenland or Iceland vs. the summer equiptment which was much bigger and could take a more direct line…

Engines Turn or Passengers Swim…that was a good one :)


[…] flight, then you might be better off considering Hawaiian Airlines, Island Air, or go. (See Cranky Flier’s take on situation.)  In all my trips to Hawaii, I just had my first Hawaiian Airlines flight a couple of weeks […]


Aloha used to be certified for ETOPS with the -200s, too. They couldn’t make the US mainland, but they went to places like Christmas Island and Midway. Unique in the US, I believe.

Wonko Beeblebrox

ETOPS also means enhanced/more stringent mechanical requirements on that plane, I think. IE: if you normally have one system and a backup, you might need yet another backup for an ETOPS plane; since you would not be able to run just on the backup — ie: with the primary down. I think.

I believe ETOPS also requires full up life jackets (not “use your seat cushion bottom for flotation”) at every seat and those deployable ceiling mounted life rafts installed on board. That might be EOW (Extended OverWater) ops, though. Cranky, do you know?

Alex C

Cranky, I wonder if you have any thoughts on the breakdown of profitability between the inter-island vs. continental US operations? Operating 732s on short hops with low yields does seem like a sure-fire way to lose one’s shirt, but are the routes to California very profitable against all the competition?

I guess the reason AQ survived up to this point was that the 732s were cheaper to keep in operation than to replace, but as you say with fuel costing what it does, that dynamic clearly changed.


Remember America West’s 737-100?

Old 708, always an adventure to fly on, when it actually flew.

Beer cans now though.


Yeah, 708 left me stranded in OAK many times due to MX. The plane always kicked out a few extra noises that would raise a scare or two.

As for Aloha’s -200 ETOPS, they flew it to Majuro, Kwajelein, Midway, and I believe they did some trips to Johnston Atoll (which is now closed and bulldozed and is an off limits nature preserve). I think they did a few Christmas Island (Kiribati) trips with it as well.


FYI – Aloha’s shutting down all operations in 2 days. Mainland flights end tonight. I didn’t think operations would cease so quickly. The Star Bulletin has an article on the shut down.

travel hag

No disruption expected to US flights, which were handled above and below wing by Aloha. Since this was in the air, temporary senior employees dispatched over the weekend to all 4 US destination cities in the islands. Great planning, I must say!


[…] may remember that I said last week that I probably wouldn’t book a flight on Aloha for travel more than a couple weeks out. It looks like the airline won’t even make it that long. Aloha has announced that, not […]