Wednesday, January 31, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Business briefs

Advertiser Staff and News Services

CitiFinancial closing in Kalihi

Consumer finance company CitiFinancial, which recently acquired 13 branches of Associates Financial Services, is closing one of its 22 Hawaii branches, affecting 21 employees.

The company, part of the CitiGroup family of financial services companies, said its Kalihi branch at 419 Waiakamilo Road will close March 31. CitiFinancial was formerly known as Commercial Credit.

The company provides personal loans, mortgages, debt consolidation loans and other lending services.

Aloha Air pilots plan protest

Starting today, Aloha Airlines pilots said they will begin informational picketing at Honolulu International Airport and Aloha’s downtown offices to protest what they consider the slow progress of contract talks related to the airline’s expansion of Mainland routes.

Aloha began flying to Oakland, Calif., from Maui and Honolulu last February, and is scheduled to begin service to Las Vegas on Feb. 14.

Pilots and management are discussing issues of scheduling, layover accommodations, meal allowances, compensation and rest periods, pilot representatives said in a statement yesterday. The pilots said they will picket through Feb. 2

Delta joining fee-hike parade

Delta Air Lines has begun charging $100 to change a ticket, following the lead of several rivals. The new fee, an increase from the previous $75, applies to all domestic Delta and Delta Connection flights but not to international flights or flights on Delta Express, its Florida-based discount subsidiary. The ticket-change fee for Delta Shuttle flights was increased to $75 from $50.

Delta’s new fees took effect Monday. Continental Airlines initiated the ticket-fee increase Jan. 19, with United quickly matching the increase and American raising its fee to $90.

Trans World Airlines raised the fee to $100 on tickets to and from Hawaii and is studying whether to apply the fee to other markets. Northwest and America West airlines said they are studying the issue.

Lasik, ICON announce deal

ICON Laser Eye Centers Inc. agreed to buy Lasik Vision Corp., creating a company with a market value of $19.9 million that performs more laser eye surgeries than any other. Toronto-based ICON made an offer Jan. 16 and said Lasik’s board accepted it yesterday. A price war has forced companies like Lasik and ICON, which perform low-cost operations, to seek mergers or buyouts to stay in business, analysts said.

ICON Chief Executive Ghassan Barazi said the combined company will have about 70 centers worldwide, including sites in Hawaii, and expects to perform at least 200,000 surgeries this year, about double the amount that industry leader TLC Laser Eye Centers Inc. normally performs.

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