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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lawsuit tries to halt go!'s tickets

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaiian Airlines filed a motion yesterday to prevent go! airlines from issuing tickets for one year following an earlier motion to block the start-up from entering Hawai'i's interisland market for two years.

Both efforts by Hawaiian in U.S. Bankruptcy Court allege that go!'s parent company Phoenix, Ariz.-based Mesa Air Group Inc. used confidential documents obtained from Hawaiian in 2004 when Mesa was one of several potential suitors interested in acquiring Hawaiian during its bankruptcy reorganization.

Go! has set off a recent inter-island fare war by offering promotional one-way tickets of $19 and permanent one-way prices of $39. Go! launched its interisland service June 9.

According to yesterday's filing, Mesa officials used nearly verbatim language in documents describing Hawaiian's fare structure and other information about Hawaiian.

"Hawaiian is more than ready to compete on a level playing field," Hawaiian's president and CEO, Mark Dunkerley, said in a statement. "However, the documents we filed (yesterday) describe evidence collected from Mesa demonstrating beyond any doubt that Mesa misused Hawaiian's confidential information. Hawaiian is seeking a remedy included in its contract with Mesa for breaching this contract."

Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa's chairman and CEO, said in an interview that Hawaiian "will pull out every legal maneuver to put fares back over $100 rather than $78 round trip. Before, it used to cost as much as $220."

Since beginning operations on June 9, nearly 25,000 passengers have flown on go!, Ornstein said, and 100,000 passengers have booked flights.

"I've talked to people who haven't visited their families in years because of the price of interisland fares," Ornstein said. "Clearly Hawaiian doesn't like low fares in Hawai'i."

Reach Dan Nakaso at dnakaso@honoluluadvertiser.com.