Aloha Airlines may be resurrected … in name only

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Aloha Airlines may be coming back. Sort of.

In another chapter in the saga of the defunct Hawaii-based air carrier, former rival Mesa Air Group wants to buy the Aloha Airlines name. A hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court began today in Honolulu to decide whether Mesa will be allowed to purchase the presumably valuable name.

If it wins the judgment, Phoenix-based Mesa Air—which operates in Hawaii as interisland service go! Airlines—plans to re-brand go! under the Aloha name.

Aloha Airlines ceased operations on March 31 after 61 years of service in the Islands. The shutdown announcement—which came a week after the company declared bankruptcy—left many Hawaii residents, business owners and travelers stunned and scrambling for alternative travel on other interisland air carriers, including go!

Relations between go! and Aloha had been less than amicable over the two years the carriers operated as competitors.

Aloha executives blamed the company’s growing financial troubles on an aggressive fare war initiated by go!, which began flying interisland in June 2006. Aloha then filed a lawsuit in October 2006 claiming that Mesa misused confidential information from failed Aloha purchase talks to drive the airline out of business. A settlement was finally reached on November 28 of this year to end that suit.

What will the possible name change mean for Hawaii interisland travelers and laid-off Aloha employees? Well, nothing really.

No matter what the U.S. Bankruptcy Court decides on usage of the Aloha Airlines name, go! will continue Hawaii operations and maintain its current flight schedule, according to representatives from the airline.  

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