The Glory Days of Hawaiian Air Travel

Honolulu, Hawaii

Today’s commercial airline landscape is much different from that of the late 1900s or even the early 2000s. Aloha Airlines, once the premier local carrier in the islands, shut down its commercial operation on March 31, 2008. Although its cargo operation was purchased and continues to operate under the “Aloha Air Cargo” name, Aloha Airlines served the people of from Hawaii since 1946 when it commenced passenger services as Trans-Pacific Airlines with single-engine propeller aircraft. It wasn’t until 1969 and the introduction of Boeing 737 airplanes that Aloha Airlines started to compete with local rival Hawaiian Airlines and in 1985 leased widebody DC-10 airplanes for routes to
Guam and Taipei.

While the long-haul operation was very short-lived, the inter-island operation continued on, eventually joined in 2000 by longer-range Boeing 737-700 airplanes to fly routes to the U.S. Mainland. In the wake of Hawaiian Airlines’ massive expansion to the Upper 48, Aloha soon found that it needed other routes to diversify its offerings and offer a way to subsidize the thin-margined interisland operation. Prior to its demise, Aloha Airlines operated flights to Oakland from Honolulu, Kahului, and Kona, as well as flights to Orange County, San Diego, Sacramento, Reno, and Las Vegas. After the fall of Aloha, a few portions of real estate on Oahu were sold to the public for future development. Unfortunately, all of Aloha’s employees lost their jobs when Aloha shutdown its operations for good.

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