Hawaii’s go! airline posts profit for first time, reversing US$6.6M loss


HONOLULU, HI – Hawaii’s go! airline today posted its first quarterly profit since it began flying in the interisland market more than 2 1/2 years ago.

The low-cost carrier, a unit of Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group, reported earnings of US$500,000 during the three months ending December 31, 2008, reversing a US$6.6 million operating loss in the year-earlier quarter.

“We are encouraged by this quarter’s performance and the strides we have taken to put some difficult hurdles behind us,” said Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa’s chief executive officer. We are also very pleased to report go! achieved its first quarterly profit, and we remain committed to our independent interisland operation.”

The results came on revenues of US$11.6 million, an 87.1 percent increase from the year-earlier’s revenue of US$6.2 million. Mesa said its interisland operations benefited from lower fuel prices, higher passenger revenue, and load factors.

Passenger count for go! rose by 11.3 percent during the most recent quarter while the number of departures jumped by 11.4 percent, as the company benefited from Aloha Airlines’ shutdown on March 31, 2008.

Overall, Mesa reported a net profit of US$15.5 million, or 55 cents per share, during the October to December 2008 quarter, which is the company’s fiscal first quarter. The results compare with a net loss of US$4.2 million, or 15 cents per share, that Mesa reported in the year-earlier quarter.

In its earnings release, Mesa noted that it entered into a licensing agreement with Aloha’s former owner Yucaipa Cos. to operate go! under the Aloha brand name for 10 years. The deal, which requires approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, calls for Mesa to pay a minimum of US$600,000 a year.