Former competitor to use Aloha name - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Former competitor to use Aloha name

Paul Skellon Paul Skellon
Wayne Wakeman Wayne Wakeman

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Bankruptcy clipped the wings of Aloha Airlines this past march, but a new deal in the works could have the local brand name flying once again.

The mainland company, Mesa Air Group, which owns go! announced an agreement with Aloha's former controlling shareholder, that may include the rights to the use of the "Aloha" label.

With more than 3,500 employees, Aloha Airlines was the state's second largest carrier until it folded.

They started off as competitors and now go! and Aloha Airlines may be soon be one in the same as mesa looks to re-brand go airlines using Aloha's designs, colors and most importantly its name-recognition.

"You guys are going out of business too?," said Shannon Kanekoa.

Inter-island travelers know the instability of local airliners.

"How come you guys are filming them?," said Kanekoa.

Noticing our cameras right away, Shannon and her son Kaulana get the sense there's some new changes that could take off soon as they check in for their go! airlines flight to Maui. With tight budgets, they choose their carrier on who's cheapest, there's no loyalty.

"go! dropping their prices the way they did is kind of what led to all this but there's a huge need for inter-island travel, a huge need for cheap inter-island travel," said Traveler Kaulana Kanekoa.

For go! airlines the hope is that one of Aloha's biggest shareholders Yucaipa Company will gain rights to the former airliner's name and license it to Mesa Air Group, who will re-name all of its go! air crafts under the Aloha label.

"Our focus is on rebuilding a very powerful and well-recognized, well-respected brand," said Company spokesman Paul Skellon.

"I think it's ironic that an airline that helped push us out of business now wants to use our name," said Former Aloha Pilot Wayne Wakeman.

Former Aloha Airlines Pilot Wayne Wakeman still carries this button with him everyday, he says if the deal goes through it will no longer have the same meaning.

"The name is just a name now, it's not the people who used to work and be Aloha Airlines," said Wakeman.

Operating up to 60 inter-island flights a day, go! says it only expects passenger traffic to increase. Officials say determination plus Aloha's reputation will equal nothing but success.

It's not a done deal yet. The Yucaipa Company will have to make it through a bankruptcy court auction at the beginning of next week.

If everything goes as planned, go! airlines says it will start operating exclusively as Aloha Airlines within 90 days.

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