March 31, 2008
Hawaiian Pilots Respond to Aloha Airlines Shutdown
HONOLULU, HAWAII – Hawaiian Airlines pilots expressed sadness Sunday at the news that Aloha Airlines had ceased operations after 61 years in business. Both the Hawaiian pilots and the Aloha pilots are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA).
Aloha management announced that the airline was shutting down its passenger operations effective March 31st. The airline had declared bankruptcy last week for the second time in as many years and was forced to cease operations after it failed to find new financial backers.
“Every airline pilot who has ever worked for a bankrupt airline or seen their carrier go out of business can empathize with the employees at Aloha,” said Capt. Eric Sampson, Chairman of the Hawaiian Airlines unit of ALPA. “It’s never their fault, but it’s always the employees who suffer most when an airline goes away. Aloha has a proud history and their people deserve better than this.”
Sampson said he would be contacting Hawaiian Airlines’ management to discuss potential ways to assist the Aloha pilot group, either through preferential interviews for future positions at Hawaiian or other means.
“We will do whatever we can to help our union brothers and sisters,” he said. “Aloha and Hawaiian have been the preferred airlines for Kama‘ainas [long-time islanders] for decades, and we have a special bond with them that is different from that of other airlines.”
On Friday, the Hawaiian MEC ratified a one-month letter of agreement for April that temporarily lifts contractual limits on how many hours HAL pilots can fly within the Hawaiian Islands. ALPA agreed to ease the work rules only if Aloha was forced to cancel service.
“It was our fervent hope that this agreement would not have to be used,” Sampson said. “But consistent, reliable air service is essential to the Hawaiian people and the letter of agreement will help our airline ensure that this vital lifeline is not disrupted due to Aloha shutting down.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots’ union, representing 61,000 pilots at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at http://www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: Capt. Eric Sampson, (808) 836-2572