By Leland Kim
HONOLULU (KHNL) -- It was a long few days for Aloha Airlines cargo workers who didn't know if, or when, they could return to work. But now they're back, providing air cargo service to neighbor islands.
Aloha Cargo started back up just before six thirty Thursday night, after its primary lender g-m-a-c agreed to finance operations for a couple more weeks, until new owner Saltchuk Resources Inc. gets up and running.
Friday, on their first day back on the job, Aloha cargo workers happily welcome their customers. It was a return that was as quick as its departure at the beginning of the week.
They closed suddenly on Monday, and we were there when their doors opened Thursday night. They were only at fifty percent Thursday, but Friday, they're operating at full capacity.
Aloha Cargo employees enjoy the calm before the swarm of customers.
"Very good. It's upbeat," said Delrie Anderson, an Aloha cargo employee. "We're just waiting for our customers to come in and send their freight out. (Saturday) will be a very busy day and we're very excited about that."
"I'm ecstatic," said Russell Cabato, another Aloha cargo employee. "I've been doing this for 24 years serving the people of Hawaii. That's all I do."
Cabato is especially happy to be back because he and his wife went from a one-income household to no income at all.
"Two years ago she decided to semi-retire so it is a big relief that there's some kind of income that is coming," he said.
They get ready for a big day of shipping.
"Are you guys back on full schedule today?" asked KHNL.
"Yes," said Eddie Araujo, Aloha cargo's sales director. "We are operating 16 departures out of Honolulu tonight, and that should be adequate to handle some of the pent up backlog that may exist."
"Love's Bakery is one of their biggest accounts. They're back, as well as the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and every major account.
Those sixteen flights Friday carried up to 250,000 pounds of goods to the neighbor islands. About 75,000 pounds will be shipped to Oahu.
These employees may feel the crunch, but they do it with a smile because they're doing something they love.
"There was always hope and faith in Aloha and Aloha cargo," said Anderson.
Hope in the future of Hawaii's air cargo business.