Tuesday, April 15, 2008

HI Superferry: Count and pics for 4/14/08, etc.

First, since it has now made it onto two or three other blogs, I will list this first. It is a very interesting audio file regarding Austal-USA, the builder of the Alakai and investor in HSF. It runs about 40 minutes:

From: http://disappearednews.com/2008/04/second-program-on-alleged-superferry.html
"In case you haven't heard last week's program yet, just click here. It should play without too much waiting."

I had the time yesterday to go check it out. Here is the report for 4/14/08:

Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21400600@N03/sets/72157604566942569/

Ship came into the harbor at 9:50am. Offloading by 10:04am.

Offloading: 35 cars, 77 people. No Roberts bus activity seen on this rough water day. One suspect car.

Onloading: 21 cars + 1 trailer. Could not count people. By company reported statistics, can multiply vehicles by 3 to get a high estimate of people in either direction.

Was going to try to go over today, 4/15/08, but did not get time to do so.

Couple of good things from the editorial page of the Maui News on 4/14/08:

Letter to the editor; good humor:
"Creative engineering could have saved Aloha Airlines"
POSTED: April 14, 2008

"What’s up with Aloha Airlines filing bankruptcy and then going out of business? The airline needed more resourceful board members or should have hired smarter lawyers. Why didn’t they consult Superferry CEO John Garibaldi, an ex-airline executive?

Did they all forget that last October the Legislature held a special session and passed a special law allowing special considerations for special large capacity ferry vessels, without naming the Specialferry?

Aloha guys blew it. All they had to do is bolt a couple of pontoons to the wings of their planes and presto change-o, instant large capacity ferry vessel. Just add water. Load them up, taxi out, take off and fly at a couple hundred feet, no bumping of whales and no puking in rough seas, land just shy of the harbors, taxi in and disembark.

No EIS needed, just ask Linda Lingle. I’m sure she would be happy to pitch in a few million for docking ramp alterations and then they’re good to go.

I even have a catchy name: Aloha FlyFerry."

Kenny Hultquist

And a very good editorial from the Maui News on 4/14/08:
"Airlines flying in very thin air"
POSTED: April 14, 2008

"It’s ironic that the most efficient major interisland airline, in terms of cost per seat flown, was the first of three to be grounded. Last week’s testimony in Washington, D.C., detailed the financial downfall of Aloha Airlines’ passenger service.

The airline worked its per-seat cost down to $50 per flight, compared with Hawaiian’s $55 and go!’s $67. Check those figures with the fares charged by go! — and largely matched by Aloha and Hawaiian — in the three-way battle for customers — from $9 to $39, with $1 flights briefly. There was a great deal of juggling prices depending on the time of the flights, advanced reservations, etc.

In the end, Aloha’s pockets were just not deep enough to last until an armistice was declared in the fare war.

Mesa Air Group, the parent of go!, may find its pockets are also not deep enough. When its stock fell to 81 cents a share last week, Mesa was valued at less than $22 million, about what it has spent trying to establish go! in the interisland market.

Competition for customers, who naturally won’t pay more than they have to for anything, wasn’t the only factor involved in Aloha’s shutdown of its passenger service. Aloha, and all the airlines, faced fuel costs that jumped something liked 75 percent across the country.

The Legislature had the opportunity in 2007 to cushion the fuel-cost blow to the interisland air lines but didn’t. The state could have exempted the interisland airlines from paying the state’s general excise tax on fuel on the valid grounds the airlines leave the state every time they fly between the islands.

In a free-market economy, there’s little that can be done to preserve any business, no matter how long established. Government has no business getting involved with private business by providing subsidies or unsecured loans, but it can take a long look at how regulations and tax policies are adding to consumer costs."

Aloha, Brad

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