Karma? Hawaii’s Infamous Go! Airlines’ Parent Hits Skids

Widespread rumors that the parent of Hawaii’s defunct Go! Airlines is near destitute and may enter bankruptcy. That after being accused of helping create the same bankruptcy result it now seeks for Hawaii’s still-beloved Aloha Airlines.

This topic has been swirling around for a couple of months, but the discussion recently accelerated. Not only that, but the company’s stock price dropped by three-quarters this year, American Airlines announced that Mesa will no longer perform regional flying for them starting in 2023, and Mesa announced last week it will need to delay its earnings report that is due.

Mesa’s Go!: a bad history in Hawaii airlines.

Go! Airlines terminated operations on April 1, 2014, after having started flying interisland in 2006. Their departure wasn’t a big shock for a multitude of reasons, including poor reviews and reputation, a small and uncomfortable fleet, and being of little competition to Hawaiian and also now defunct Island Air.

Do you remember Go! Airlines’ $3 Hawaii flights?

We sure do. It was when they first started flying. Your editors gave Go! a try in 2006 and decided that their uncomfortable fleet of regional jets was a no-go.

The airline never became popular with residents and was largely reliant on visitor flights sold through OTAs.

When two Go! pilots fell asleep, overflying the airport in Hawaii.

That unforgettable sleeping pilot incident was related to crew (pilot) fatigue. That issue, of course, is a bigger problem than Go! But what happened there is that in 2007, the two pilots fell asleep on their flight to Hilo from Honolulu. After flying 25 miles past the airport, they were finally awakened. The pilots reported that it wasn’t unusual for them to sleep through the flight.

Go! fired the pilots, and the FAA subsequently suspended them for what was deemed careless and reckless operation.

Go! Airlines was controversial, to say the least.

Before going out of business, Go! entered talks with Island Air, to acquire that company, although it didn’t come to fruition. In the end, Mesa moved their fleet back to the mainland.

At one point, the airline also partnered with Mokulele to become Go! Mokulele. That was from 2009 until 2011.

Did Go! put Aloha Airlines out of business?

Aloha Airlines maintained for years that it was the fare war resulting from Go!’s entry into interisland flying that resulted in Aloha going out of business in March 2008. When Go! itself departed years later, Aloha Air’s former CEO David Banmiller said that he continued to believe that Aloha put Aloha out of business as a result of Go! Airlines’ predatory practices.

There’s no doubt that Go! didn’t help the fate of Aloha Airlines, although there were significant other contributory factors. Those included poor management, an old fleet, the Flight 243 incident, global financial issues, and its failure to recover following  bankruptcy in 2004-2006.

It’s interesting to note that Aloha, at an earlier time when it was much stronger, may have contributed to the demise of both MidPac and Mahalo airlines as a result of direct competition on Hawaii flights.


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5 thoughts on “Karma? Hawaii’s Infamous Go! Airlines’ Parent Hits Skids”

  1. It all sounds like a shark infested feeding frenzy that engulfed airline after airline eventually eating itself when no other food was present. Karma, sure I can see that contributing to the scenario. Predatory Practices have cost Hawaiians for decades in one way or another. That was an Abundance of Predators that benefited no one in the end. I am hopeful that the 2 Predators, SWA & HWA, will strengthen the 2 airlines bonds to Hawaii and to the benefits of Competition to Everyone. It’s possible that could be an enduring legacy of this war.

  2. Karma also hit Mesa back in 2007 when a Court awarded Hawaiian Airlines $80 million in damages from Mesa for certain business practices. Apparently, Karma was not done at that time and returned to haunt in the form of a very expensive judgement.

    Google it up, it’s still there linking Hawaiian Airlines and Mesa’s judgement. Interesting read.

    Peter M

  3. Aloha put itself out of business. Privately held, the owners were offered $1million by United in 1990, before ETOPS allowed direct flights to all the outer islands in twin engine aircraft from numerous mainland cities. The owners wanted $2million. They refused to expand, and as the once-lucrative interisland market that United wanted in on suddenly shrank, Aloha’s balance sheet evaporated. When they finally acquired B-737-700 aircraft and started a small expansion it was too late, and just a matter of time before they were buried in debt. That was the end. Go really had nothing to do with it.

  4. Yes, Karma. Old saying “those who live by the sword shall due by it”. I still miss Aloha though the Hawaiian 717’s are far superior to yhe ancient 737-200’s. Given Hawaiian’s plan to go to Regional Jets from “Scarebus”… the 737’s do not look too bad.

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