WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department is opposing the Aloha-Hawaiian
request for temporary antitrust immunity on interisland routes.
Aloha and Hawaiian have asked the DOT for immunity through Oct.
1, 2003, to coordinate and reduce capacity on the routes.
The DOJ, however, on Aug. 30 urged the DOT to reject the
application because the coordinated capacity reduction "will result
in serious harm to consumers through higher fares and poorer
service in some of the most heavily traveled city pairs in the
U.S." The DOJ also concluded that there has been "no showing that
such collusion on capacity is necessary to preserve air service in
the interisland markets."
The DOJ acknowledged that interisland traffic has declined over
the past several years, and took another hit from the post-Sept. 11
decline in air travel.
But the DOJ said the law on which the airlines are relying to
receive antitrust immunity was meant only to protect against the
"complete loss" of service, and "the available evidence shows that
neither [carrier] is in imminent danger of failing" or pulling out
of the interisland routes.