Consumers brace for higher fares after go! Airlines shutdown - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Consumers brace for higher fares after go! Airlines shutdown

With the demise of go! airline, some consumers are bracing for higher fares.

On Monday, go!'s parent Mesa Air said it will shutdown its interisland service on April 1 and move its 50-seat Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft to the mainland, where it flies under contract for United and U.S. Air.

"When you definitely pull a competitor out of the market mix, I think it will definitely raise fares to a certain degree," said Ewa Beach resident James Grissom.

Added Hawaii Kai resident Sunshine Werner: "It's (already) high for the amount of time people are flying now."

Go! made a big splash when it launched its interisland service in 2006 with one-way fares as low as $29. It quickly dropped those fares to $19 then $1.

But rivals accused the airline of predatory pricing and both Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines both sued.

Hawaiian eventually won a $52.5 million settlement in 2008 after a judge found that Mesa had used confidential business information to launch go!

That ruling came after Mesa's chief financial officer destroyed key evidence, saying he thought it was pornography that he downloaded onto his work computer.

Aloha became a casualty of the fare war. It shutdown in 2008 and layed off 1,900 employees.

"This is not a good chapter in Hawaii history," said Peter Forman, local aviation industry historian.

"When go! came here people like myself saw them as a wolf in sheep's clothing."

Since Aloha's demise, go! has hardly wowed consumers. Planes were often delayed and customer service was lacking, Forman said.

And in 2008, the Federal Aviation Administration opened an investigation after two pilots fell asleep during a 39-minute flight from Honolulu to Hilo.

"Go! has some good employees but the business model didn't make sense and the quality of service was lacking as well, so they never found their niche," Forman said.

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