Aloha CEO Testifies on Capitol Hill - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Aloha CEO Testifies on Capitol Hill

By Mari-Ela David

WASHINGTON D.C. (KHNL) -- Aloha Airlines CEO David Banmiller testified Thursday before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Capitol Hill. Banmiller said deregulation hurts the state's airline industry. He says it works in big markets, but in small markets like Hawaii, deregulation opens up potentially harmful competition.

As Aloha Airlines struggles to save what's left of its business, federal leaders step in to find out exactly how and why the company crashed, especially since the airline survived bankruptcy before.

"No one wanted to believe that a passenger airline with a 62-year history of serving Hawaii could disappear, or that 2,000 of our people who supported passenger operations could lose their jobs overnight. But without further financing, we had to make the hard decision," said Banmiller.

Banmiller underscored yet again that Mesa Air Group's go! Airlines' predatory pricing led to Aloha's collapse.

"In fact, court documents show that Mesa's chief financial officer stated in an email that rather than wait for Aloha to die, Mesa should re-enter the inter-island market and give Aloha the last push," said Banmiller.

Banmiller said he tried to call on federal lawmakers to do something about the inter-island fare war, but his call for help didn't gain enough momentum to save Aloha from shutting down.

Banmiller noted that since the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 passed, Hawaii has seen a number of airlines go under - Mid Pacific, Mahalo and Discovery, and now Aloha.

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