Lawmakers hope other carriers will fill void left by Go! airlines

Published On: Mar 18 2014 07:38:11 PM HST
HONOLULU -

Senator Ron Kouchi flies back home to Lihue from Honolulu at least once a week.

He said Kauai residents are worrying about inter-island fares going out of reach.

"Clearly a lot of our medical needs are here, our sports teams come to participate in tournaments, There are hula competitions, schools competition. We are so dependent," said Kouchi.

But the head of the Hawaii Tourism Authority says while there may be an adjustment period, but he is hopeful the void will create opportunity to strengthen one of the other local carriers.

“Things will be tighter for a while, but I think out market will adjust. The neighbor islands still have a lot of capacity and opportunity. So I look forward to our local carriers to step in and fill the need there,"  said HTA's Mike McCartney.

McCartney said one thing to keep in mind  is that  there are more direct flights to the neighbor islands than ever.

Go's parent company Mesa Airlines didn’t return calls asking how many employees stand to lose their jobs.

Lawmakers hope those workers can be absorbed by the competition.

"We have a delicate balance with airlines in Hawaii. The big issue is seats capacity and movement of people and goods," said English.

Go! carried about 6 percent of the market that English hopes will be taken up by Island Air, Hawaiian, Mokulele, or possibly even Alaska Airlines.

"They have looked at our routes. They have examined it very closely and sent teams here to look and this is in the last few years. So, I am sure as they hear of this they may reexamine their ideas," said English.

The Senate transportation chairman  said he is concerned about how Go's pull out may affect the plan for the new commuter terminal.

The airline has been at the table in the planning of the new space which includes sharing in some of the costs.

He cautioned that departure may be used as a factor by other airlines as they take another look at their fare structure going forward.

 

 

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