No, this isn't an April Fools gag... Hawaii inter-island carrier go! will cease operation on 4/1/14, after a turbulent 8 years of operation. Parent Mesa Air claims that it needs the aircraft and crews on the US mainland and is sighting that as a reason for the decision. It's not secret, though, that go! was bleeding money. Lawsuits by Hawaiian and former Aloha owner Yucaipa certainly didn't help, costing Mesa over $50 million. Add to that go!'s reputation for delays and poor service, and few would be surprised by this move. In fact, go!'s current fleet consists of just 2 CRJ-200's, down from 5 when they first began operations. This in comparison to Hawaiian's 18 717s...
So how does this affect my fellow Insiders? Well, if you're traveling to Hawaii anytime soon and have reservations with go!, you'll obviously need to book. However, if you don't have reservations or are planning an island hopping adventure, you may see a rise in airfare. While go! is an awful airline, it's departure benefits no one but Hawaiian. HA will hold near monopoly status on Hawaii's inter-island routes. Sure, there's Island Air and Mokulele, but they simply cannot compete with Hawaiian. Their fleet & aircraft are tiny, their flights are longer and we've actually seen them pull back their service. Island Air axed two routes this year alone!
And history doesn't bode well for another startup either. Hawaiian currently posses over 80% marketshare on inter-island routes, despite go!'s predatory pricing. It would be nice to see another entrant into the market, but Hawaii's airline industry is full of failed ventures... the ones I remember are Discovery Air, Mahalo Air, Aloha Airlines, Mokulele (jet service), and now go!
Wow, shutting down in less than two weeks, that's pretty severe to folks that have reservations on them particularly if they are coming from the mainland or foreign countries. Getting seats on a HA flight that fits a time schedule you want could be difficult with such short notice.