12 Jan 2005

Aloha airlines flies to the Marshalls for the last time

7:01 pm on 12 January 2005

The Marshall Islands has bid farewell to Aloha Airlines after as the Boeing 737 took off for Honolulu for the last time this week.

Aloha announced in December that it was ending service to both the Marshall Islands and American Samoa this month, and shortly before the New Year, the Honolulu-based company filed for bankruptcy protection.

A group of traditional and business leaders and representatives from the Marshall Islands Resort hotel were on hand at the airport to farewell the airline Tuesday.

All passengers on the flight were given flower leis and the crew and company officials received special handicrafts in a presentation organized by the traditional leaders.

Local officials estimate that the departure of Aloha will cost the Marshall Islands at least 500-thousand US dollars annually in lost revenues, including local catering services, hotel accommodations and landing fees.

Continental Micronesia is now the sole carrier linking Majuro and Kwajalein with Honolulu.

Aloha Airlines is the fifth American air carrier to be operating under bankruptcy protection.

Although Aloha is jettisoning its Pacific islands service, it will continue to fly inter-island in Hawaii and to the U.S. mainland and Canadian cities.

US media reports say Aloha lost 6 million dollars last quarter, its fourth straight quarter for negative earnings.