Airfares matter more to Hawaiians than to most other Americans, so the precarious state of Aloha Airlines is a very big deal in the islands.
Aloha is back in bankruptcy, compelled to seek protection from its creditors for the second time in three years. Its state of near-collapse is blamed variously on rising fuel prices, aggressive competition from a new interisland airline and unimaginative responses from management to both those challenges.
There’s no question that the new competitor, the Mesa subsidiary go!, pushed Aloha and Hawaiian airlines hard with loss-leader fares. And it seemed clear to most observers that at least one of the airlines would go under in this fight. And when it does, fares must rise.
Hawaiians are bracing for this and also contemplating whether the controversial interisland Superferry has a place in meeting their unique transportation needs. I just hope things work out so that Hawaiians can afford to travel around their own state.