Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: August 13, 2001

HONOLULU-BASED Cheap Tickets, which sells negotiated air fares and other leisure products on line, is dropping its nine retail stores, a move that impacts agencies on Maui as well as in Seattle, the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles, Fullerton and Burbank, Calif. The agencies will close Aug. 16. Cheap Tickets CEO Sam Galeotos blamed the closures on slackening consumer demand for "the walk-up travel agency, particularly with the widespread adoption of e-ticketing." It will maintain its original kiosk in Honolulu, which has a location across from the Hawaii Convention Center.

AG: AAA DEAL A-OK -- The Automobile Club of Southern California's secret acquisition of a majority interest in Pleasant Holidays more than two years ago violates no laws or state statutes, the California attorney general's office concluded. The office looked into whether the auto club should have disclosed to its customers that one of the travel agency's preferred tour operators actually was owned by the auto club. "It doesn't appear that there's any legal requirement for disclosure," said Herschel Elkins, senior assistant attorney general. Pleasant is the largest U.S. wholesaler doing business in Hawaii.

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES posted a profit of $3.2 million during the first six months of the year with $3 million of that coming in the second quarter. The airline's second-quarter earnings of $3 million were down from a $4.6 million profit during the same period in 2000. Hawaiian said its expenses increased 5% during the first half of the year, mainly due to an increase in wages for training crews for the ongoing replacement of its fleet with new 717 interisland aircraft and 767 aircraft for mainland routes to Hawaii.

CELEBRITY CRUISES will deploy its newest ships, Infinity and Summit, in Hawaii and the Panama Canal in 2002, with 29 one-way sailings. The 1,950-passenger Infinity will offer 12 Hawaii voyages from May 10, 2002 to May 21, 2003, visiting five destinations in the islands. The Summit will offer four Hawaii cruises from May 3 to Sept. 24, 2002.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-Ariz.), in a letter to President Bush, criticized American Classic Voyages' Project America shipbuilding program for being significantly over budget and far behind schedule. McCain said the $1.1 billion project to build two 1,900-passenger U.S.-flag ships for the Hawaii market is "in serious trouble" and said taxpayers may end up footing the bill because construction of the ships is being funded in part through government loan guarantees.

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