Monday, March 17, 2014

Get ready for skyrocketing airfares in between Hawaiian islands

Get ready for skyrocket airfares for inter island flights in Hawaii when Mesa Air Group will shut down the inter-island airline go! effective April 1, 2014
GO Airlines operated by the Mesa Air Group announced today the closure of Go as of April 1

Competitor Hawaiian Airlines will have close to a monopoly on the Hawaiian market and airfares may increase rapidly. When GO Airways started Hawaii residents and visitors enjoyed airfares of $19.00 each way in between islands. Families and friends on different islands could meet for a weekend or for lunch. Today airfares are well over $100.00 each way topping sometimes $250.00, and once go Airlines is gone there is no limit of what Hawaiian Airlines can do to separate the Aloha State even more. Air service is essential for the State of Hawaii, since a ferry service is no longer available.

For about a year Hawaii enjoyed the Superferry at peak times with two passenger frequencies between Oahu and Maui.

Many thought Hawaiian Islands may have been behind helping environmental groups to sue the ferry company and eventually succeeded. Hawaii's only passenger service had to close operation giving airlines 10 plane loads of passengers back every day.

Rumor said Hawaiian Airlines had a quiet role in pushing competitor Aloha Airlines out of the market and into bankruptcy.

Mesa Airlines released this statement today:
Mesa Air Group, Inc. (“Mesa” or "Company") announced today that it will cease its Hawai’i operations effective April 1, 2014. Since June 2006, go! has served its nearly five million passengers with safe, reliable and low fare service.

The decision to cease operations in Hawaii follows significant growth in the Company’s flight operations on the mainland and was a strategic decision to focus the organization on maximizing its growth in the capacity purchase “codeshare” operations which comprise over 98 percent of the Company’s business

“While this was an extremely difficult decision to reach, we believe it is in the best interest of Mesa’s long term strategic objectives, particularly given the Company’s ongoing expansion of aircraft in service with United Airlines and US Airways. Mesa will be placing into service 30 EMB 175 aircraft with United beginning in June 2014, and is adding 4 CRJ-900 aircraft with US Airways in 2014, having added 9 CRJ-900s in 2013,” said Jonathan Ornstein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “With the significant expansion opportunities in flying large regional jets in contracted service, we are re-deploying the go! aircraft to support our existing mainland operations. An additional factor that we accounted for was the long term increase in the cost of fuel, which has more than doubled since go! began service and has caused sustained profitability to be elusive” continued Ornstein.

Under the terms of an agreement with Hawaiian Airlines, go! will be able to re-book passengers ticketed through go! for travel scheduled between April 1, 2014 and June 30, 2014 in specified fare classes on Hawaiian’s Interisland network. go! will refund tickets for passengers who cannot be accommodated on Hawaiian Airlines, or for passengers holding tickets for travel after June 30, 2014. All ticket holders will be contacted by go! reservations representatives regarding the re-accommodations. Customers and travel agents needing additional information may call 1-888-435-9462 or visit the website at .

"go! will continue to provide its passengers with safe and reliable transportation through its last day of service, and will work with our passengers and Hawaiian Airlines to minimize the impact that this announcement will have on our passengers,” noted Chris Pappaioanou, President of go!.

“On behalf of Mesa Air Group, I would like to thank all of our many loyal passengers and the continued hard work and dedication of our employees – all of whom will be given an opportunity to continue their employment with Mesa Airlines. While we say goodbye to our many passengers in Hawaii, we look forward to serving you on the mainland through our significant codeshare operations,” continued Ornstein.

Mesa currently operates 71 aircraft with approximately 407 daily system departures to 85 cities, 36 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and Mexico. Mesa operates as US Airways Express and United Express under contractual agreements with US Airways and United Airlines, respectively. The Company was founded by Larry and Janie Risley in New Mexico in 1982.

Mesa makes its living primarily by flying small aircraft on regional feeder flights for larger carriers like United Airlines and US Airways.

Hawaii News summarized the go history in a report published today.The report reads:  Mesa Air came forward as a potential buyer during the bankruptcies of both Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines, signing agreements not to disclose or use any proprietary information it saw about those airlines' business plans or costs. But rather than buy either carrier, Mesa founded go!, launching service on June 9, 2006 from Honolulu to Hilo, Kona, Kahului and Lihue.

Both Hawaiian and Aloha would eventually sue, and Hawaiian won, then settled out of court for a large enough sum to cover its jet fuel expenses during a run-up in oil prices.

When Aloha, facing similar fuel bills, shut down at the end of March 2008, the bankruptcy court found that one of its most valuable remaining assets was its lawsuit. The Yucapia Cos., which had provided funding to Aloha, acquired the suit and sold it to Mesa, effectively ending the litigation.

Both Hawaiian and Aloha had accused Mesa of predatory pricing, which is illegal, and the Hawaiian lawsuit produced a smoking gun memo, but Mesa claimed the memo, despite charts and graphs showing how it could outlast Aloha in a price war, was a joke, and the Justice Department never pursued it.

Aloha Airlines did a cost analysis which found that Mesa's fares meant not only that it was operating at a loss, but that it needed more money per passenger than either Aloha or Hawaiian to break even because of the small size of its aircraft. Eventually go! fares rose to much higher levels.

When Aloha left the interisland business, however, passengers flocked to Hawaiian instead of go!, and go! was further rocked by Mokulele Airlines briefly flying jets on the same four main interisland routes. Mokulele didn't last long as a jet-flying carrier but go! didn't get to grab Aloha's former market share, either. In recent months it was down to flying two jets.

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