Aloha Airlines' Shutdown Impacts Aloha Retirees

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- People work hard so they can enjoy life after retirement.

For retired Aloha employees, the setback from the final bankruptcy filing is a one-two punch they didn't see coming.

Aloha Airlines' abrupt shutdown of its passenger service earlier this month grounded planes and took away 1,900 jobs in Hawaii.

It also impacts retirees like pilot Alan Hughgill, who are on the verge of losing their health benefits.

"Those pilots that retired between 60 and 65, they will not be able to get medicare," said Hughgill, who flew with Aloha for 30 1/2 years.  "They'll have to get a COBRA rate or something and that if it's just the husband and wife, that means they're going to have to fork out out of pocket, $1,265 a month."

That's on top of what they already lost.

When Aloha went through bankruptcy three years ago, some retirees lost as much as half of their pension.   Hughgill lost a third.

"I didn't realize that third would mean as much as it did, and it really does, so I have to watch what I do, and what I spend, and where I travel," Hughgill said.

So it's an additional hit Aloha retirees did not anticipate.

And it comes at a time when budgeting your money is especially important.

Hughgill has this message for Aloha president David Banmiller:

"I wish that you would plan better in the future whenever you do this, in future bankruptcies that you seem to be involved in, that you take the welfare of the employees who work for you more at heart than you have done," said Hughgill.

And Hughgill's heart goes out to former Aloha employees who are now forced to start all over.

"Not just lost your job, you've lost your medical. That is very, very devastating."

The deadline to file paperwork to buy any portion of the company is this Friday.

The auction starts on Monday and the hearing to confirm the sale will happen next Thursday.