Lawmakers Scramble To Help Aloha - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Lawmakers Scramble To Help Aloha

By Beth Hillyer

HONOLULU (KHNL)--With time running out, Hawaii State Senate leaders meet to discuss ways to save bankrupt Aloha Airlines.

Aloha has been in business in Hawaii for 61 years and lawmakers are scrambling to help out the struggling carrier.

The airline told a bankruptcy judge they only have about a week's worth of cash.

Hawaii's top lawmakers are talking to each other and the airline about ways to keep Aloha from going under.

Senate leaders sit and discuss ways to help Aloha Airlines out of bankruptcy.

"When you live paycheck to paycheck you run out of money between paychecks and you can't pay the bills," said Senator Kalani English.

"The impact on our economy and community would be significant if Aloha goes away," said Senator Gary Hooser.

The urgency is to move a bill that frees interisland carriers from the state excise tax on jet fuel.

"It's the jet fuel costs that exceed their employees costs and so that is something they hadn't budgeted for," said Senator Rosalyn Baker.

Aloha needs an immediate influx of cash and state lawmakers want to make the carrier more attractive to a buyer.

I think it's safe to say all options are on the table we are looking at loan guarantees looking at their fuel tax, tax credits. "

They look for creative ways to help Aloha through this turbulent time.

"It's really saying the state is willing to help back this, it gives confidence to private investors to support Aloha. That's key confidence in the airline, adds English.

Lawmakers are confident helping Aloha is the right thing to do.

"From a transportation perspective it's vital Aloha carries the mail between our islands. Bread on Maui for example comes from Oahu, if Aloha stops moving that cargo Maui doesn't get bread," said English.

And even more precious than cargo is people.

"That is the link that connects all of our communities, for residents, produce and all of our goods and services," said Senator Russell Kokubun.

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