go! Airline's Fate? It's Up to the Judge

Mark Dunkerley
Mark Dunkerley

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- The future of go! Airlines is certainly in question. Hawaiian Airlines is demanding go! pay a huge price for misusing its confidential documents.

The trial ended Thursday afternoon. Hawaiian Airlines wants $178 million in damages from go!. While Hawaiian was in bankruptcy in 2004 go!'s parent company Mesa reviewed internal reports and signed a confidentiality agreement..

"They understood that if they were to misuse the information, just as the judge has found last week, that they would be liable for that consequence," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO.

The confidential documents included Hawaiian Airlines' code sharing agreements and data tracking Japanese travelers.

Ever since go! entered the market in June of last year, all three airlines have been losing money due to price wars.

Local travelers enjoyed unheard-of airfares.  But aviation experts testified no company can lose money forever.

"Hawaiian has certainly been damaged by this, but so have the people of Hawaii," said Dunkerley.  "We have here a competitor that is engaged in predatory behavior for the purpose of driving one of the competitors out of business then raising fares higher than they were."

Mesa lawyers accuse Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines of a duopoly, saying they conspired to keep prices high.  Hawaiian Airlines said that's not true.

"We're no stranger to competition, but this is about fair play and you only get the best result for consumers if everyone is playing by the same rules," said Dunkerley.