Hawai’i Update: Slurs are Fun!

Aloha, Go!, Hawaiian
It’s been awhile since I’ve sent out an update on the fight in Hawai’i. Things certainly haven’t quieted down at all.
go! continues to flounder. Even with really cheap seats, the airline only managed to fill 62.9% of seats in October. That isn’t going to get them even close to profitability. Meanwhile, Hawaiian managed an almost $8m profit in the third quarter thanks to cost cutting measures and despite the increased competition. But that’s the boring stuff . . .
It continues to get uglier and uglier in the slugfest between the state’s airlines. You might remember that airline workers for all the other airlines (not go!) in the state formed a group called H.E.R.O. Last week, that group held a rally with 150 supporters outside the state capitol to protest go!’s alleged attempt to bankrupt Aloha. At the rally, they passed around a t-shirt that said “go! is not a Hawaiian airline” on one side and “Mesa has no Aloha” on the other.
Now this wouldn’t be a big deal except they passed it around and had people sign it. After it was done, they Fedex’ed the t-shirt to Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein. And on that shirt, there just happened to be some slurs against Ornstein’s Jewish heritage. The only one this article referenced directly was “J.O. ‘The Jew’ Borat” (which doesn’t actually make any sense) but it says there were more explicit remarks.

Now, I don’t believe that H.E.R.O.’s leaders condoned the remarks. In fact, they’ve issued a statement on their website to the contrary. But, it does show that this organization is running fully on emotion and really needs to take a step back and figure out what they’re trying to do here. I understand that people’s livelihoods are at stake in the state, but you need to run a smart campaign and not an emotional one that can lead to hate. That being said, it sure does make for interesting writing.

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