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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