More on Aloha
March 31st, 2008 by Mike

Aloha Airlines will soon be a footnote in aviation history. They’ve been blaming “illegal” competive practices by Go!, a unit of Mesa Air. Aloha claims that Go! was selling seats below cost.

I call bullshit.

According to their own site, they were operating the following aircraft:

11 Boeing 737-200 Passenger Advanced
3 Boeing 737-200C
4 Boeing 737-200QC
8 Boeing 737-700

That’s 18 737-200 series aircraft. It’s no wonder they weren’t making money. According to the Wikipedia article, the 737-200 entered service in 1965 and the last one was delivered in 1988, 20 years ago. Perhaps Go! was pricing seats below Aloha’s costs, and with a fleet of ancient, inefficient aircraft, that’s not exactly hard to do. I was honestly surprised to find out that any US carrier was still operating those old things. Don’t get me wrong, they’re solid, safe, reliable aircraft. They’re also really old, fuel INefficient, and very costly to operate.

I think Delta was the last mainland carrier to retire their 737-200s from service, and that was sometime shortly after 9/11. Every other airline has replaced the 737-200 with newer versions of the 737. Aloha would have done well with the Boeing 717, too.

Sure, Mesa may have been flooding the market with cheap seats. Southwest made a name for itself doing this. Other carriers responded by bringing their costs down and replacing older aircraft with newer, more efficient aircraft. But I think this proves one thing: You can’t make money hopping around the islands on a 40 year old gas guzzling aircraft when your competition is doing the same thing with brand new regional jets.


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