Thu, Nov 01, 2007
Judge Rules Carrier Used Confidential Information
Mesa Air Group's new
low-cost carrier will cost them some big bucks. A US Bankruptcy
Court judge ruled Tuesday Mesa illegally used confidential
information obtained from Hawaiian Airlines to launch its new go!
interisland airline... and ordered Mesa to cough up $80
The Associated Press reports Judge Robert J. Faris ordered the
fine to compensate for damages Hawaiian Airlines has incurred since
go! entered the Hawaii market.
Faris determined Mesa used information it obtained while a
bankrupt Hawaiian Airlines courted Mesa as a possible investor --
including profitability figures for local and Hawaii-US mainland
routes, and passenger profiles -- to turn around and launch its own
airline. The judge said Mesa breached a confidentiality agreement
when it failed to return the information to Hawaiian, or destroy
Faris rejected Hawaiian's request to ban Mesa from selling
interisland tickets for one year, however, and he refused to order
Mesa to compensate Hawaiian for future damages. The airline had
sought such damages to compensate for what Hawaiian believes are
the unnaturally low fares that have resulted since go! launched --
to an average of $40.
Still, Hawaiian president and CEO Mark Dunkerely called the
ruling "a triumph for fair competition and ethics over dishonesty
and illegal behavior."
Mesa has maintained it studied the Hawaiian market for years,
and it launched go! because Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines
were charging too much.
Faris said it's inevitable all three airlines will soon have to
raise fares, due to financial losses despite an increase in
passenger traffic. Hawaiian and Aloha lost a combined $82.1 million
for 2006, according to the AP.
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