Aloha Airlines cargo division, shut down abruptly two days ago, is expected to be saved.
Seattle-based Saltchuk Resources, Inc. had previously announced it would buy the company, then backed away on April 24. But Saltchuck said today it had obtained financing and was again moving to buy the company. The contract to purchase Aloha’s cargo division could be approved as early as Thursday morning in U.S. Bankruptcy court in Honolulu, after which service could begin again.
Hawaii suppliers have been forced to scramble for alternative product transport between islands since the Monday shutdown. Aloha handled more than 85 percent of the state’s interisland air cargo business.
Aloha Airlines CEO David Banmiller mentioned a possible buyer for the cargo division in a speech to the Hawaii Publishers Association on Wednesday, but gave no specifics at that time.
Saltchuk, which is also the parent company of interisland shipping operations Young Brothers and Hawaiian Tug & Barge, did not reveal a purchase price. The company had originally bid $13 million for Aloha’s cargo division.
Aloha Airlines shut down its interisland and transpacific passenger service on March 31 after more than 61 years of service. The airline had filed for bankruptcy earlier that month, citing the inter-island airfare war set off by Go! Airlines and the soaring cost of jet fuel for losses of $81 million in 2007 as reason.
UPDATE, 05/01 @ 11:30 p.m.: Aloha Airlines Cargo was back in the air this evening after a federal bankruptcy court judge approved a motion for the company to resume flights. The sale to Saltchuk is expected to close on May 14.