State of the Airlines

Friday, October 06, 2006

go! Can Still Sell Tickets in Hawaii But Not Necessarily Out of Hot Water

Hawaiian Airlines attempt to throw upstart and general rabble-rouser go! (no that's not a typo its really lower case...moving on) airlines off the islands was turned down in court yesterday. At issue was Hawaiian's claim that go!'s parent Mesa used confidential information provided by the Hawaiian when the airline was shopping for investors. Hawaiian claims that Mesa used that information to build their own marketing and sales plans for go!. But its a two part equation according to the judge:
"Mesa probably breached the confidentiality agreement," as Hawaiian alleges. But Faris said that Hawaiian failed to meet the second part of a two-part test because Hawaiian failed to show that Mesa's action caused Hawaiian irreparable harm.
Despite the fact that go! will still be allowed to sell tickets for island travel the judge has some harsh words for them. Here's a choice quote from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris who presided over this case:
"the evidence raises real doubts about the propriety of Mesa's conduct." Faris levied particularly harsh comments against Mesa's executive vice president and chief financial officer, George Murnane III, calling his "self-contradictory testimony ... profoundly troubling."
The judge goes on to point out the Murnane essentially lied in court and then had to backtrack and admit that he did actually use the info obtained from Hawaiian to benefit go!'s startup. If I was Mr. Murnane III I would be packing my bags because the litigation is not over yet. I think Mesa and go! are gonna hang Murnane out to dry in an attempt to distance themselves from this impropriety.
PS - Want more background on this nasty little battle? Go visit The Cranky Flier

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