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Sunrise Down the Isle
Pacific Wings Cutting Flights & Employees Print E-mail
Written by Brooks Baehr -   
July 10, 2009 06:37 PM

Pacific Wings Airlines is eliminating as many as two thirds of its inter-island flights and plans to layoff or relocate some of its roughly 100 workers. Company owner and C.E.O. Greg Kahlstorf told KGMB9 the moves are the result of an alleged assault on one of his employees.

Friday the airline released pictures it says are evidence a security guard at Kahului airport assaulted a company employee Tuesday. The pictures show a bruise and small cut on the leg of the alleged victim.

Kahlstorf said she was hurt as the security guard tried to push his way through the door of the company trailer.

To protect his employees at Kahului Kahlstorf said he will hire his own guards, and the added expense will be passed on to customers.

And because of what Kahlstorf called a pattern of intimidation by Kahului airport security the airline will eliminate flights and reduce its work-force.

Kahlstorf said he hopes to be able to offer employees jobs on the mainland where the company operates airlines in several other states. He could not say how many workers may be affected.

"It's unfortunate that these jobs and these tax revenues have to leave Hawaii, but again, if we can't ensure the safety of our employees, if we can't be certain that they are going to be able to work in an intimidation and harassment free workplace, we become liable," Kahlstorf.

"I think it's a little drastic decision by Pacific Wings, and I don't think that they are truly thinking about the people they are impacting," said state Transportation Director Brennon Morioka.

Morioka told KGMB9 there is no evidence of an assault.

Pacific Wings had grounded its planes Wednesday and Thursday. Flights between Honolulu and Kalaupapa resumed Friday, and Kahlstorf said flights to Kamuela and Hana would resume no later than Monday.

Pacific Wings is stopping all flights to Kona, Lanai City, and Molokai's main airport at Hoolehua.

Kahlstorf said anyone with tickets to those cities on Pacific Wings will be able to fly for free on Island Air.

Pacific Wings is raising tickets prices from $88 one way to $225.

Last Updated ( July 13, 2009 12:39 AM )

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