Aloha for sale


A day after announcing it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Aloha Airlines said late Friday that it’s looking for a buyer for all or part of Hawaii’s second-largest airline.

Attorneys for the privately-owned Aloha told a federal bankruptcy judge in Honolulu that the company is seeking a buyer for its passenger, cargo and contract services.

The judge approved the airline to continue operating and honoring its loyalty programs.

Aloha is owned by a group of private investors, some of whom participated in the rescue of the airline from its previous bankruptcy, which began in late 2004. The biggest investor, The Yucaipa Cos. of California, is apparently unwilling to invest more than the $100 million it has already pumped into the company.

Aloha said rising jet fuel costs and a 21-month-long airfare war with Hawaiian Airlines and go! forced the company to enter bankruptcy. It is the second time in three years the airline has filed for court protection; it last exited bankruptcy in February 2006.

Founded in 1946, Aloha Airlines flew 3.9 million passengers in 2007.

Aloha’s routes link the five major Hawaiian Islands and fly to Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; and San Diego, Oakland, Sacramento and Orange County. On March 14, Aloha said it will cancel a daily flight from Sacramento to Orange County on April 1.

Also on Friday, leaders of the Hawaii House and Senate said they are prepared to consider legislation that may assist Aloha in its reorganization.

The lawmakers and Gov. Linda Lingle have expressed concern about the airline’s 3,500 employees, but offered no specific assurances for aiding the airline.