Mesa's Hawaiian Disaster Gets a Name (Go Hawaii)

Well, HAL is certainly beefing up its mainland routes in the near future. This will take some more of their dependancy off the inter-island runs. just my thoughts......

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think HP has staff in HI, except perhaps a station manager. HA has the gates/ticketing contract on all the islands for HP flights as far as I know.
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Could any of the RJ's that Go is using make it out to Majuro and Kwajalein?

Continental Mike is making a killing flying out of there.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think HP has staff in HI, except perhaps a station manager. HA has the gates/ticketing contract on all the islands for HP flights as far as I know.

Actually, it's AQ, not HA.
I hope competition will bring prices in line. Same goes for main land. I am afraid fuel cost will change that.

Are you kidding me?! Have you missed the whole issue of fares being way too low in this industry? Sure...if you think that $149 transcon roundtrip is fair on the mainland, then yeah...dilute away in HI...but the fact is the mainland has been severely diluted and now Mesa has done the same with HI. If you ask is sort of Independence-Air-esque. Little RJs flying at fares that make it impossible to ever make a profit while simply hoping that an encumbant falls creating a little more space. At least Mesa hasn't thrown much of their capacity at this disaster but they definitely are not trying for profit.

Let me know if you weren't aware of the whole diluted yields issue in the airline industry and I'll gladly dredge up any article printed in the last 5 years for you... I don't know how you missed it, though.
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Mesa can't buy off the politicians in Hawaii. They are outsiders and won't be able to break HA or AQ, the politicians won't let it happen.
Does anyone know how they are doing?
Here's an article from the Honolulu Star Bulletin:

Mesa's Ornstein is confident as ever
By Nina Wu
[email protected]

A native New Yorker, Jonathan Ornstein, the CEO of go!, is already adapting to life in Hawaii.

Less than a week after starting service with his new interisland airline, he's managed to find time to go surfing to celebrate the smooth takeoff. He's confident not only in the viability of go!, which set off interisland price warfare with its entry to the Hawaii market, but also in its future in the state.

The chairman and chief executive of Mesa Air Group Inc., the Phoenix-based parent of go!, was one of the panelists at a Travel Weekly 2006 Hawaii Leadership Forum yesterday, along with John Votsis, vice president of sales for Aloha Airlines, and executive representatives of Outrigger Enterprises, Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Aloha Airlines and go! took the interisland fare war to new levels last week when go! offered $19 one-way tickets for the debut of its interisland flights, while Aloha gave away 1,000 free round-trip interisland tickets.

Then go! announced that its earlier, promotional $39 one-way fare would be part of its regular fare structure.

Ornstein and Votsis traded a few playful jabs at one another on the panel. But the rules were clear: Any talk about future fares was off limits.

Neither the history of other airlines that have failed to contend against the state's two largest carriers, nor the pending arrival of the Hawaii Superferry can stamp Ornstein's confidence in go!'s potential for success.

Mesa has performed well on the mainland, he pointed out, operating more than 180 aircraft under its own name as well as for larger airlines. The parent corporation brings in revenues of more than $1 billion annually.

"We have a history of being profitable, so I don't think we expect our experience here to be any different," he said.

Ornstein said yesterday that there's plenty of room for a new player in the airline industry, particularly when there's demand from customers seeking lower fares.

He declined to disclose revenue figures for go!'s first week in the air, but said: "Our load factor has significantly exceeded our expectations. It's much better than we had hoped for at this point in time."

The airline, which is only using two aircraft right now, expects to double its number of flights by the end of the month.

At $39, he said go! will be able to compete with the Superferry, when and if it does arrive in the Hawaiian Islands next year.

"There will be a segment of the market that will go with the Superferry," he said, "but we will be faster."

The new air carrier's strategy is to make itself stand out as a different experience, whether it be with modern island tunes as background music, or a beverage menu with competitive prices.

"Six months from now, we have to keep things fresh," he said. "We have to be different."
Does anyone know how they are doing?
The battle is continuing. This is from today's Star-Bulletin website:

Hawaiian trying to stop go!
Hawaiian Air is seeking court action to keep its new rival from selling tickets for one year
By Dave Segal
[email protected]

Hawaiian Airlines is seeking a preliminary injunction that would prevent Mesa Air Group Inc.'s startup interisland airline go! from selling new tickets for one year.

The motion filed in federal Bankruptcy Court yesterday is the latest salvo in a cutthroat, three-way battle that has escalated between those carriers and Aloha Airlines since Phoenix-based Mesa announced in September that it was entering the Hawaii market.

A hearing on the preliminary injunction is scheduled for Aug. 4, and a trial on Hawaiian's claims against Mesa for damages is set for April.

"Hawaiian is more than ready to compete on a level playing field," said Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive of Hawaiian. "However, the documents we filed (yesterday) describe evidence collected from Mesa demonstrating beyond any doubt that Mesa misused Hawaiian's confidential information."

The motion claims Mesa plagiarized Hawaiian's proprietary data more than a year after Mesa said the information was destroyed in the wake of its rejection as a potential investor during Hawaiian's bankruptcy.

Hawaiian, which sued Mesa in February, said in yesterday's motion it has evidence that shows Mesa's chief financial officer, George Murnane, copied text and charts verbatim from a Hawaiian document for potential investors and used the information in a Mesa document. In the motion, Hawaiian said Mesa was "caught with their hand in the cookie jar."

Hawaiian said Mesa benefited from the proprietary information because it was able to use Hawaiian's data and analysis as a shortcut to avoid much of the cost and risk of entering the interisland market.

"The confidential information offered Mesa the equivalent of Hawaiian's user manual for the operation of its interisland business," the motion said. It also said the document made Mesa privy to Hawaiian's marketing methods and pricing strategies.

Sensitive corporate information in the motion was removed from public view.

Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa's chairman and CEO, said yesterday that Mesa's document was prepared for potential local investors in go! but was never used after Mesa decided not to bring in local investment. He also disputed the claim that Mesa used confidential information in planning for its Hawaii operation.

"That's their assertion, obviously, but we believe differently," he said.

If Hawaiian's preliminary injunction is granted, go! would not be forced to suspend operations, because people who already have booked tickets would be able to fly. But the injunction would prevent new purchases for a whole year, slashing go!'s passenger load.

"Hawaiian is clearly trying to deprive local people from visiting friends and family at affordable fares," Ornstein said. "There are about 100,000 people who already have booked on us who might not have been able to before. For (Hawaiian's) sake the strategy needs to work, because I think the backlash from the people of Hawaii who can see through this is something (Hawaiian) may never recover from."

Ornstein also questioned what Mesa could learn from Hawaiian's proprietary information.

"I'm not sure what inside information they think we garnered from these documents," Ornstein said. "They've been flying here for over 75 years without a lot of change in their service pattern, and I don't think they've discovered any new islands in that time."

What happened: Hawaiian Airlines is asking a court to stop Mesa Air Group's interisland airline, go!, from selling tickets.

If Hawaiian prevails: Go! could carry passengers who already have tickets, but could not sell any more tickets for a year.

If Mesa prevails: No changes

When it will be decided: Sometime after Aug. 4, when the court will hear arguments

Hawaiian said it does not want to shut down Mesa's interisland operations because it does not want to strand passengers who already have purchased tickets on go!. Hawaiian said it is seeking a one-year suspension of new ticket sales because of a confidentiality agreement that prevents Mesa from using the information for two years. Hawaiian alleges that Mesa used the information after about one year and that declarations to the court by Murnane and airline consultant Mo Garfinkle that Mesa did not use the proprietary information were false and misleading.

Hawaiian's motion also asserts that Mesa's Murnane testified during discovery that Garfinkle, who assisted Hawaiian executives during its bankruptcy, helped prepare the Mesa document.

Ornstein dismissed Hawaiian's accusations.

"There are only four (main) city pairs (to fly interisland)," Ornstein said. "There really aren't a lot of secrets in terms of passengers and revenue. That's public information, and that's how our decision was made.

"It's not as if there's a new interisland destination that was revealed to us in these documents that we took advantage of. Given that we want to charge low fares and be successful, we certainly wouldn't want to copy their business plan."

Mesa, which has countersued Hawaiian, claiming it is violating antitrust law, said Hawaiian could raise ticket prices again after go! sparked a price war that dropped one-way interisland fares to as low as $39.

"Hawaiian says it wants to encourage competition -- as long as it's not competition like Mesa, which is financially capable and operationally capable," Ornstein said. "They know we'll be here for the long term and know we'll continue to offer low fares, and that's something they don't want to see happen. They want to charge $200 round trip, like they used to."
Mesa has performed well on the mainland, he pointed out, operating more than 180 aircraft under its own name as well as for larger airlines. The parent corporation brings in revenues of more than $1 billion annually.
At 1B in revenue this ranks Mesa as a "Major Airline". Who would of ever thought?? When will we see them listed in the rankings along with the rest of the big boys?? :p

Local airline battle flares anew
Hawaiian alleges trademark offenses on Mesa's Web site
go! will use larger planes in expanding interisland service
By Dave Segarl
[email protected]
Hawaiian Airlines and go!, locked in a bitter interisland turf war, have taken their fight to the next level.

Airing it out
The latest developments of the interisland turf war between incumbent Hawaiian Airlines and startup go!, a subsidiary of Mesa Air Group Inc.:
» Hawaiian Airlines sends a cease-and-desist letter to Mesa accusing the company of trademark infringement and demanding that the Phoenix-based carrier stop using the word "Hawaiian" on its Web site.

» Mesa Chairman and Chief Executive Jonathan Ornstein discloses that he plans to order eight to 12 larger planes for the Hawaii market that could be delivered as early as next year. The planes, which will replace the current fleet of 50-seat CRJ 200s, either will be 90-seat CRJ 900s or Embraer 195s that seat up to 116 passengers.

The state's largest carrier is accusing go! parent company Mesa Air Group Inc. of trademark infringement and has demanded that the Phoenix-based company stop using the word "Hawaiian" on its Web site.

Undeterred by the action, Mesa announced yesterday a significant expansion of its new interisland operations.

Jonathan Ornstein, chairman and chief executive of Mesa, said Mesa plans to order "in the next month or so" eight to 12 larger planes for its Hawaii business, with delivery as early as next year. He plans to replace go!'s five-plane fleet of 50-seat Bombardier CRJ 200s with either 90-seat CRJ 900s or Embraer 195s that seat up to 116 passengers.

"We are feeling more and more that this is working significantly better than our expectations, and there's no reason to wait in regard to the larger aircraft given the response we've gotten in the marketplace," Ornstein said. "The larger aircraft would transition us to profitability very quickly."

A 12-plane fleet would give go! more interisland aircraft in Hawaii than either of the two incumbent carriers, but Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines still would have more total passenger capacity than go!. Hawaiian's 11 Boeing 717s hold 123 passengers each, while Aloha's 10 Boeing 737-200s carry up to 127 passengers. Aloha also uses three additional 737s as interisland cargo planes.

Hawaiian and Mesa have been battling in court for months over go!'s entry into the local market. In the latest dispute, Hawaiian now accuses Mesa of identity theft.

"(Mesa has) loaded up their Web site with our name, which is called keyword stuffing, unlike any of the other carriers we compete with," Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Keoni Wagner said. "Nobody else calls themselves a Hawaiian airline, for example, and we're simply asking them to stop.

"It's like identity theft. Mesa is using our name to gain business, and that's just not right."

Honolulu-based media attorney Jeffrey Portnoy, who represents Hawaiian Airlines, said in a letter to Mesa that the use of the terms "Hawaiian Flights," "Hawaiian," "Hawaiian Airline" and "The Hawaiian Airline" creates a likelihood of confusion, constitutes infringement of Hawaiian Airlines' trademark and represents deceptive trade practices.

Ornstein, reached yesterday at a board meeting in Santa Monica, Calif., said he was incredulous about Hawaiian Airlines' latest legal move.

"This is the most preposterous thing I've ever encountered in my business career, that we're not supposed to use 'Hawaiian' on our Web site for service in Hawaii," Ornstein said. "Are we supposed to use 'Chicago' because it rhymes with 'go!'? This is truly a desperate act that defies comprehension. They have not trademarked the word 'Hawaiian.'"

In the cease-and-desist letter, though, Portnoy pointed out that Hawaiian owns various federal trademark registrations for phrases containing "Hawaiian," such as "Hawaiian Airlines," "Hawaiian Miles" in connection with its frequent flyer program, and "Hawaiian Premier Club" for airline passenger services.

The letter, dated July 5, requested that Mesa respond by July 10. But Raul Rizo-Patron, vice president of corporate development for Mesa, said the company did not even receive the letter until Thursday, three days after the deadline.

"We go out of our way to make sure we don't say 'Hawaiian Airlines' on our Web site because we're not in that business. We're not them," he said.

The letter said that common use in the aviation industry establishes the use of "Hawaiian" as a specific reference to "Hawaiian Airlines" and that it cannot be claimed that "Hawaiian" is primarily a geographic term. It also said that the dictionary definitions of "Hawaiian" are "a native or resident of Hawaii" and "the Polynesian language of the Hawaiians."

"If Mesa asserts that 'Hawaiian airline' means an airline serving Hawaii (not just an airline for native Hawaiians or on which Hawaiian is spoken), Mesa's use of 'The Hawaiian Airline' deceptively implies that there is only one airline serving Hawaii and that Hawaiian Airlines does not exist," the letter said.

The letter said "there is simply no legitimate reason" for Mesa's alleged overuse of the word "Hawaiian" in the text of its Web site,, and in the site's meta tags, which are invisible text on a Web page that include key words representing the page's content. The letter said the use of those words exceeded the number of times that Mesa used its own trademark, go!, on its site.

Ornstein said that go! used the word "Hawaiian" a lot on its Web site because "that's what generates searches." He said that the letter is trying to prevent go!, among other things, from describing itself on its site as "go! The New Low-Fare Hawaiian Airline."

He also said Mesa discovered Thursday that Hawaiian Airlines had contacted Google and Yahoo and asked the search providers to remove all references to go! from their Web sites for any searches involving the words "Hawaiian." The references were restored yesterday after Mesa contacted the search providers, Ornstein said.

Hawaiian Airlines has been vigorously defending its territory since Mesa announced last September it was going to enter the Hawaii market. The inaugural flight on its new carrier, go!, took place on June 9.

In February, Hawaiian Airlines sued Mesa for damages, alleging that Mesa used proprietary information for its Hawaii operation that it obtained as a potential investor during Hawaiian Airlines' bankruptcy. Mesa responded with a countersuit alleging that Hawaiian Airlines was trying to keep out competition. A trial is scheduled for April.

Then last month, Hawaiian Airlines filed a motion in federal Bankruptcy Court seeking a preliminary injunction that would prevent Mesa from selling new tickets for one year. A hearing on that is scheduled for Aug. 7.

Amid the legal wrangling, Mesa created a splash by offering $39 one-way tickets -- more than half of the previous one-way market fares -- that Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines were forced to match.
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And the nitpicking begins, HA has its lawyers and probably bought off some politicians.

Wonder if AQ will sue them for having the flight attendants saying "Aloha!" to the passengers?
You'd think from the whole Incompetence Air debacle Ornstein would have learned that there’s no such thing as a low-cost carrier operating nothing but 50-seat jets. Given that his ego could fill Haleakala at least twice over, though, he probably thinks he can succeed where others have failed (Kerry Skeen’s ego could only fill it one-and-a-half times).