Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: February 18, 2002

JUST SAYING NO. A group calling itself Citizens for Competitive Air Travel presented to Gov. Ben Cayetano a petition bearing 20,000 signatures against the proposed merger of Hawaiian and Aloha airlines. The group opposes the merger because they fear it will create a monopoly on interisland air service, forcing prices up and service down. "When there's only one game in town, guess what they're going to do?" said Kevin Jones, a member of the group and a frequent business traveler in the islands. A spokeswoman for Turnworks, the company attempting to merge the two airlines, said the company would not comment on the petition.

STAR-CROSSED: Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Star moved its Lahaina port call on Maui to the other side of the island at Kahului through May 3, citing "lack of sufficient shore-side tender support." Passengers at Lahaina have complained that the wait to get ashore takes too long. The line will offer a free shuttle from industrial Kahului to picturesque Lahaina for those who feel they are missing out. The Norwegian Star, which sails among the Hawaiian islands on a weekly basis, previously changed ports on the Big Island from Kona to Hilo through the remainder of the winter for weather reasons.

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES added a second daily flight to Honolulu from Houston, bringing another 1,645 seats a week into the market, according to the airline. The eight-hour flight will be on a 767-400 aircraft.

TRAVELTIME of San Luis Obispo, Calif., was named the travel agency of the year for 2002 by the Oahu Visitors Bureau. According to the OVB, Traveltime increased its Oahu sales by 30% in 2001 over 2000. Traveltime beat out four other agencies that qualified for the top spot: The Travel Shop of Portland, Ore.; Peak Travel in Calif.; Patterson Travel of Calif.; and Travel Lifestyles of Houston.

THE OHANA REEF LANAI finished a $1.3 million renovation to its lobby and guest rooms. The lobby now has a new floor and furniture while guest rooms have new wallpaper, carpeting, beds, bedspreads, drapes, sofa beds, and televisions. All the rooms have kitchenettes. Rates at the hotel start at $89 a night per room.

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