I am posting excerpts of a letter / commentary that was sent to me regarding the Mesa / Yucaipa / Aloha debacle. I was given permission by the author to print all (or part) of this letter.
(Again ... the comments expressed below belong to the person writing the commentary, and may not reflect the HNL RareBirds team)
"Why is it that a simple line pilot who barely graduated from high school could read Ornstein's game perfectly and (if not for Mark Dunkerly) became the only person who got to stand the line against the sociopath and prevail. I showed AQ management how easy it was to beat the little liar down. I had basically no resources except the other pilots who also saw down the rabbit hole with me and generously helped support my legal fees. (You also who gave, I did not forget, thank you). Whatever insight I had into the way this would play out came and went, in the end I was betrayed just like all my other fellow employees.
"In early March 2008, those of us who could see past the wizard's curtain were all celebrating because many of us believed that Ornstein had finally run his course. The arrival of the "Casper" (all white paint) CRJ's was a clear indication that JO had psychologically given up on the go! brand. The fancy go! paint jobs on the 4 bravo romeo "blue ridge" (Former FlyI planes) were headed back to the lessors because of high payments and low revenue.
"In late March when Banmiller announced we were shutting down, the casper planes quickly became additions instead of replacements. The timing was suspicious (maybe the rabbit hole goes down further than I thought) but I have to believe our demise was as much of a surprise to JO as it was to the rest of us.
"On March 31st 2008, Mesa was literally days away from shutting down go! themselves when we shut down Aloha instead. Hawaii was handed to Mesa on a silver platter.
"Now, fast forward six months... Mesa did not bring out CRJ 900's to Hawaii as promised, all of Mesa is about ready to shut down completely. Come this January 2009, Mesa's convertible notes come due, another round of notes are due in February. These two events were certain to wipe Mesa off the face of the earth FINALLY. Who wants to wager that JO now becomes successful in delaying those payments and now survives to terrorize another airline another day? Ron Burkle has in effect changed the future of the airline industry / empire (or did he ensure the future / same difference) by breathing life back into this lecherous cancer?
"The fall of Aloha and the survival of Mesa have changed the future of the airline industry. Billions more will be made (transferred, stolen) by the further raping and pillaging of the airline industry in the next round of takeovers. Aloha's employees' sacrifice to save our airline, preserve the industry and shut down Mesa was a valiant one, but ultimately ended in Vain. At least Hawaiian and Mark Dunkerly did not play the "Blame Mesa" game with the Hawaiian employees like Aloha did. Furthermore, Hawaiian has been very kind to the former Aloha employees. Hawaiian may once again come to the rescue if / when they out bid Yucaipa and gain the rights to Aloha's trademarks.
"At the end of March 2008, when we re-entered the bankruptcy court in Honolulu, we all saw the truckloads of paperwork presented to the court with our own eyes. It is clear that our demise was not only scripted but had been in preparation for much longer than the last two weeks of March. There was enough paperwork in that courtroom to keep a legion of lawyers nice and fat for several years. In the courtroom bleachers sat no other Aloha management except for Thom Nulty. He had the familiar look of pain and suffering that the rest of us all know very well. The demise of Aloha was all premeditated and scripted before the fact, but I am convinced Thom was NOT in that deep.
"The fact today is Yucaipa settling with Mesa for a measly $2million AND leasing them the rights to the Aloha name is not a conspiracy theory, this is bragging about their complicity publicly and arrogantly proclaiming there is nothing anybody on Earth can do about it.
"I urge the former Aloha employees to continue to focus on moving along and the creating a new future for ourselves. Airline politics in Hawaii will always be there. Hopefully without Ornstein after this January. Yucaipa betrayed us eight months ago, the only difference today is just that now it's finally clear to see. It's time to move on gang, today more than ever before. One day the truth will come out and be made public. For now, just let it go."