Hawaiian Airlines Sues Go! Airlines

HONOLULU (KHNL) - First, there were inter-island air fare wars, now the battle has shifted to the courts. So much for the friendly skies. Hawaiian Airlines has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against Mesa Air Group, the owner of Go! Airlines.

Hawaiian is demanding the island s newest air carrier stop selling tickets for a year.

Wednesday night, Mesa's planes, Go! Airlines are up and running like normal. But under this motion filed today Hawaiian would like to see those planes forced to fly without any new ticket sales.

At the heart of this case is trade secrets. Hawaiian Airlines says that its company's business plans, fares and operations were exposed during bankruptcy and says Mesa learned about their routes, prices and profitability of inter-island travel, giving the start-up an unfair advantage in the Hawaii market.

In a written statement Wednesday, Hawaiian CEO Mark Dunkerley states:

Hawaiian is more than ready to compete on a level playing field. However, the documents we filed today describe evidence collected from Mesa demonstrating beyond any doubt that Mesa misused Hawaiian's confidential information. Hawaiian is seeking a remedy included in it's contract with Mesa for breaching this contract.

Mesa counters this latest legal move is just an effort to keep out the competition.

"There was no secret plan, no secret destination. There was nothing that has not been available for years through public data. We're giving local people an opportunity to see and visit more friends and family and it's a shame that Hawaiian wants to take that away from them." says Mesa Air CEO Jonathan Ornstein in a phone interview with KHNL News 8's Paul Drewes.

In the injunction, Hawaiian is not asking for Go! Airlines to be shut down, just that their ticket sales stop for a year. In fact, Hawaiian is asking for already purchased tickets to still be honored , without additional fares being sold. In effect saying, if there is a flight with only one person on it -- they would still have to fly. That could have a drastic impact on Go!, who told KHNL they already have an estimated 100,000 people booked on future flights.