Economist Predicts Air Fares Will Rise Without Aloha

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Hawaii state lawmakers learned Aloha Airlines' departure will likely mean higher airfares.

They're investigating what led up to the demise of Aloha and what's being done to help the unemployed workers.

A local economist is predicting higher ticket prices now that Aloha is out of the equation. We don't know when, but experts believe we'll see air fares take off.

For local business and leisure travelers, Aloha's departure is bound to affect your pocketbook.

"A reduction in lift, a reduction in capacity will lead to higher pricing than we have seen of late," said Bank of Hawaii Economist Paul Brewbaker.

Lawmakers say Hawaii's air market could never support three airlines.

"You have a small number of players in different industries and that's the way it probably always be in commercial interisland aviation," said Brewbaker.

And some regret not passing legislation years ago to regulate island air carriers.

"We needed to have a disaster like this to make this bill even looked at and I mentioned before Alaska has such regulation, Congress did give them exemption and so they can regulate," said Representative Joe Souki.

Lawmakers questioned business and tourism experts about the fallout.

"We are going to continue looking at revenue projections, we are going to look at what areas of the economy might be affected that we haven't seen in our overall look," said Robert Shore, a state economist.

The head of the state's labor department discussed help for Aloha's unemployed workers.

"We believe the Aloha Airlines employees are very resilient, they should be absorbed into the economy and other jobs because they have good customer service skills, the kind of skills we are seeing that's going to be needed," said Labor Director Darwin Ching.