Release #09.HAL2
February 18, 2009

Hawaiian Airlines Pilots Say 2008 Earnings Prove Hawaiian Can Afford To Pay Raises

HONOLULU – Hawaiian Airlines pilots say their airline’s consistent ability to remain profitable despite the peaks and valleys of the world economy proves management can afford to pay cost-of-living increases to its pilots, based on a 2008 earnings report released today that shows the company’s year-end operating income increased 13-fold from 2007 to 2008.

“As expected, Hawaiian announced that it earned stellar income for the year and a respectable income for the 4th quarter, just as it has done in previous years,” said Capt. Eric Sampson, chairman of the Hawaiian Airlines Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. “These results are a tribute to Hawaiian’s hard-working employees and especially its loyal customers. We’re appreciative and grateful for their ongoing support for us.

“In 2007 Hawaiian had a year-end operating income of $6.8 million. In 2008, Hawaiian earned an operating income of almost $92 million, far beyond even our management’s expectations. The airline has no record of sustained negative earnings to back up its claim that Hawaiian needs concessions from the pilots before it can afford to pay raises to the workers that have been instrumental to its success,” Sampson said.

When oil was averaging $140 per barrel during the third quarter of 2008, Hawaiian earned operating income of $23.7 million, but told the pilots they could not get a raise because of the high price of oil. In the fourth quarter, oil dropped to less than $40 per barrel and Hawaiian earned operating income of $31.8 million, but told the pilots they had to pay for their own raises through work rule changes because of the poor state of the US economy.

“These latest results prove that Hawaiian Airlines is a robust, consistently profitable company that outperforms its key competitors. Regardless of management’s attempts to downplay its success, Hawaiian can easily afford to provide reasonable cost-of-living increases. We recognize the slowdown in Hawaii’s tourism industry and the fragile state of the overall economy. We know that many people are hurting in this economy, which is why we are only asking for small pay increases and minor improvements to our retirement plan,” said Sampson.

Hawaiian’s executives are more than adequately compensated for the airline’s positive performance. CEO Mark Dunkerley earned $2.3 million in salary and other compensation in 2007. The most senior members of his leadership team earned between $423,000 and $785,000 over the same period. Larry Hirschfield, the Chairman of Ranch Capital LLC, Hawaiian’s majority investor, lives in Rancho Santa Fe, CA -- one of the 10 most expensive communities in the United States.

“This airline made money during its sham ‘bankruptcy.’ It made money when oil was nearly $150 a barrel. Its profits have grown exponentially in the past year despite the stock market collapse. What possible new excuse can Mr. Dunkerley now give to avoid sharing Hawaiian’s success with its employees?” asked Sampson.

“After almost two years of negotiations, the time has come for management to move off their zero-sum accounting. Our patience is near an end, and we want a new contract that respects our work on behalf of this company. We believe that all employees deserve reasonable, regular pay increases when their employer is in excellent financial shape.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 52,250 pilots at 35 airlines in the United States and Canada, including more than 400 pilots who fly for Hawaiian Airlines. Visit the ALPA website at

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ALPA Contacts:
Eric Sampson, (808) 836-2572
Rusty Ayers, (847) 323-9519