Aloha Cargo Employees Ecstatic to Be Back at Work

Bernie Yanagawa
Bernie Yanagawa
Keala Kaupu and Kendra Fischer
Keala Kaupu and Kendra Fischer
Don Leong
Don Leong
Arlene Nguyen
Arlene Nguyen

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Gratitude and jubilation from Aloha cargo employees Thursday evening, after they re-open for business.

"I was like, 'Yeah!'" said Arlene Nguyen, a 16-year Aloha Cargo employee.  "I was so happy!  I was just so thrilled."

It's been a week of definite ups and downs for Aloha Cargo and its hundreds of employees.  It was just on Monday that the cargo division shut down.  Thursday night, it's back in business.

Three planes full of cargo took off around 11 pm.  This, after Aloha's main lender, GMAC Commercial Finance agreed to fund operations until Saltchuk Resources buys the division.

KHNL News 8's Mari-Ela David will have more on what happened in court today, but we start our complete coverage tonight with Leland Kim, who has reaction from Aloha Cargo employees.

Naturally, they are excited, even jubilant, that they're back at work.  The news came down at just before six thirty, and many of them were already here, ready to work.

It was a ghost town for a couple of days, but Aloha Cargo is now bustling with activity.

"We're flying and we're all so happy," said Bernie Yanagawa, an employee who worked for Aloha Cargo for thirteen years.  "We're flying."

"Excited ready to go back to work," said Keala Kaupu, an Aloha Cargo employee.   "Really happy.  Thank God that we pulled through and we finally get to work again."

"We're really excited because we're both young and we're starting our careers here so it's really good to know that we still have a job we love," said Kendra Fischer, another Aloha Cargo employees.

Cargo employees moved pallets, and got nets ready for their evening customers.  By seven o'clock, their customers started coming back, like seafood company owner Don Leong.

"The last few days ever since Aloha shut down, no sale, no sale to neighbor islands," said Leong, owner of Wing Sing Seafood in Kalihi Kai.

He wasn't sure how much longer he could last.

"I don't know what to do with my employees and I don't know how the business will survive in the future," said Leong.

It was also a long day for employees.

"It's been long.  It's been stressful," said Arlene Nguyen, an Aloha Cargo employee who worked for the company for 16 years.  "We've been on pins and needles."

Now that Aloha Air Cargo is back in business, employees and customers breathe a collective sigh of relief.

"Right now I'm feeling very ecstatic, I'm so happy that we finally got to come to work, and see all my friends," said Nguyen.

"We jump for joy," said Leong.  "So happy for the boys.  So happy for the workers here."

Excitement and gratitude from those who depend on air cargo for their livelihood.

With the late notice, some of their customers found other ways to deliver their goods to neighbor islands. But the employees hope they come back, and with a new owner, they hope to work in the cargo business for many years to come.