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Hawaiian Airlines to Complete Restructuring Under Chapter 11

Travel News Asia 21 March 2003

Hawaiian Airlines, Inc., a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc., announced today that in order to complete a restructuring process begun several months ago to restore the companys long-term financial health, it has filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S.  Bankruptcy Code. Hawaiian Holdings was not included in the filing and will not be a part of the Chapter 11 process.

It will be business as usual for the airline as we complete our restructuring, said John W. Adams, chairman and chief executive officer of  Hawaiian Airlines. Adams said that the company hopes to complete the restructuring and emerge from Chapter 11 in the fall.

In the meantime, tickets will be honored, maintenance and service will continue at the highest levels, and our HawaiianMiles program will continue  to offer fliers significant award benefits. Code-share agreements with partner airlines should not be affected by the filing. Most importantly, customer safety will remain our highest priority. We take great pride in our 73-year record of safety, service and reliability, and we intend to continue to build upon that record.

This is a moment in time for our company, Adams said. As the travel experience on most other airlines is eroding, Hawaiian Airlines has a unique  opportunity to distinguish itself with its premiere Hawaii service. While most airlines are cutting wages, cutting flight schedules and cutting services, Hawaiian Airlines is introducing new aircraft, new conveniences, new services and new routes.

Adams said that the company has made significant progress since it launched its restructuring efforts several months ago in response to the dramatically changed operating environment after 9/11. In addition to  significant improvements in operating efficiencies throughout our company, we have been successful in working with the unions that represent the majority of our employees and many of our vendors to lower operating costs and create a more viable, competitive business model for the future.

Despite our best efforts and extensive negotiations, however, we have been unable to reach agreement with certain of our aircraft lessors on reducing our lease rates to market levels, Adams said. As a result, we felt we had no choice but to seek the protection of the Bankruptcy Court while  negotiations with the lessors continue, Adams said.

Clearly we would have preferred to complete our restructuring outside of the Bankruptcy Court, particularly in light of our significant progress to date.  A major element of our strategic plan and the key to the future financial health of the company is to mark our aircraft lease rates to market, but without the support of certain of our aircraft lessors, we felt obliged to protect the assets of the company, including the continued use of our aircraft while the restructuring is finalized, Adams said.

He noted that the company has requested Court permission to continue employee wage and benefit programs as usual. It has also requested Court permission to continue customer programs, including its HawaiianMiles frequent flyer program, pay fuel vendors, hotels and other services without  interruption and to assume code-share, clearing house and interline airline contracts.

The company filed its voluntary petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Hawaii in Honolulu.

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