On this day: Hawaii residents said 'Aloha' to Aloha Airlines
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - March 31, 2008 was a heart-wrenching day for Hawaii's airline industry.
Saturday marks exactly 10 years since the final flight for inter-island passenger travel on Aloha Airlines.
The final flight flew in to Honolulu in the nighttime hours. The aircraft was greeted by a large crowd of employees at Honolulu International Airport.
There were shakas, cheers and tears as Aloha Airlines abruptly shut down after nearly 61-year in the islands.
"At Aloha, its more than just a job. We were more truly like a family. Everybody always knew everybody so it's good we can all catch up right now," former flight attendant Duane Tanaka said.
The shutdown occurred after the airline unexpectedly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2008.
Competition from Mesa Air Group's 'go!' airline along with rising fuel and maintenance costs made it increasingly tough for the company to compete.
A mix of those factors forced the shut down.
Click here to view photos from the archives: Aloha Airlines remembered 10 years later
Hundreds of employees lost their jobs and island travelers were left with fewer options when it came to air travel.
Despite lawmakers looking at ways to save the company, a bailout never came to fruition.
As a result, Aloha Airlines bid a fond farewell to Hawaii.
Ten years later, hundreds of employees reunited in Waikiki. The gathering was an opportunity for former workers of all branches to reconnect.
"We really truly cared about each other. Whether you're a pilot, mechanic, office worker, ticket agent, we all were real friends. Everyone was really friends with everybody," Tanaka said.
It seemed that no matter who you asked in attendance, they all echoed the feeling of Ohana.
"They all feel the same that Aloha Airlines was an Ohana, a family. Nothing like it, nothing ever will be like Aloha," former customer service agent Christine Opiopio said.
Aloha still operates their cargo branch providing air transportation for good between the islands.
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