1 May 2008

Aloha Air shutdown hits Hawaii farmers

3:25 pm on 1 May 2008

Farmers in Hawaii are among those who have been affected by the sudden closure of Aloha Air's cargo operation.

Aloha closed its profitable air freight business this week, after its lender GMAC Commercial Finance cut off financing.

The shutdown has seen the loss of 300 jobs and the end of a business that handled about 85 percent of all goods flown between Oahu and neighbouring islands.

Hawaii Farm Bureau's executive director, Alan Takemoto, says it is a major setback for businesses.

"The timing of it all is very bad. I mean with the economy slowing down, fuel prices going up, both Aloha's passenger service closing down, ATA airlines closing down, the overall cost of doing business is going up and now they have to deal with this closure of the cargo service on Aloha Airlines is not good timing."

He says the impact is also being felt by many retailers and wholesalers, and affected the movement of inter-island mail and the flow of cash between banks.