Laxintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 28498 posts, RR: 50 Posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2336 times:
DOT has come out with two rulings in favor of Hawaiian Airlines over its public feud with the Governor of American Samoa.
First ruling has to do with the governors, attempt to deny Hawaiian Air operating rights to the island.
Quote: American Samoa Can't Ban Hawaiian Service, DOT Says
American Samoa cannot ban Hawaiian from operating flights to and from Pago Pago, the U.S. Transportation Dept. ruled this week.
The decision resolves the question of whether powers given to the territory would cover the action. Hawaiian argued that such a move would be illegal, going against federal law that prohibits states and territories from taking action affecting the interstate airline operations.
American Samoa said it would ban Hawaiian from operating to Pago Pago once it found a suitable replacement to offer service to the mainland. The governor complained the airline was abusing its monopoly positions to charge local passengers higher fares and also levied discrimination charges against the carrier. American Samoan citizens also complained of poor customer service, which they claimed was ethically related.
The second DOT ruling has to do with claim by the governor that Hawaiian Airlines was in violation of the Federal Essential Air Service program by limiting the number of seats to the island.
Quote: DOT Upholds Pago Pago EAS Levels In Latest Review
The Essential Air Service determinations for Pago Pago, American Samoa, will remain unchanged from those established in 1984, the U.S. Transportation Dept. decided after reviewing seven years of traffic stats.
American Samoa asked DOT to review Pago Pago traffic and order Hawaiian, the carrier serving Honolulu, to operate a fourth weekly frequency in June and determine the number of weekly frequencies that must be offered to "provide the needed seats." In making the case, American Samoa Gov. Togiola Tulafono described a situation where it is impossible "for the people in our community to make a reservation to Honolulu from circa the middle of May for travel during the month of June.
The 1984 order held that Pago Pago should receive a total of 1,118 weekly seats to and from Honolulu during June, July and August and from mid-December to mid-January. DOT found that Hawaiian, which operates Boeing 767s on the route, offered 1,512 seats during the summer and yearend holidays. Average load factor on the route from 2000-2006 was 68%.
Gov. Tulafono also suggested traffic was being suppressed by "Hawaiian's monopoly-enabled high air fares." DOT looked at fares for periods when Aloha competed with Hawaiian on the Pago Pago-Honolulu route and found Hawaiian's fares were actually higher with competition than without. The department also noted higher fares may have more to do with increased fuel costs than with competition.
PanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2261 times:
If the governor wants to try something that might get him some sympathy, he needs to work on the double standard applied to American Samoa making it an international flight by one standard (but not open to international competition), but domestic on another, keeping foreign carriers out.
What needs to be argued is that IF this is an international flight (and it must be classified as such), then as an international route it should be opened to foreign competition. If it is a domestic flight, then it needs to be treated like any other domestic flight.
It should be one or the other, not both. THAT is where he needs to focus his energy on - NOT on his personal feud with Hawaiian.
By the way, has the runway been fixed yet?
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Ha763 From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 3735 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2107 times:
Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 1): What needs to be argued is that IF this is an international flight (and it must be classified as such), then as an international route it should be opened to foreign competition. If it is a domestic flight, then it needs to be treated like any other domestic flight.
The problem is American Samoa has its own entry requirements controlled by the American Samoa government. Because of this, you are actually leaving the U.S. and re-entering on the other side. That's why you have to go through Immigration on both sides and is considered an international fllight by CBP. Hawaiian has to pay the CBP fees associated with it being considered an international flight. However, it is still a cabotage flight because it is between a U.S. territory and a U.S. state. If Gov. Tulafono wants the route to be considered a domestic flight, he needs to give up entry control over to the CBP.
Quote: Hawaiian Airlines can fly to American Samoa
The U.S. Department of Transportation has ruled that American Samoa may not regulate airline service between the territory and other U.S. destinations.
In a 14-page ruling Tuesday, the department said Congress pre-empts state and territorial regulation of airline routes, rates and services under the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978.
The petition was filed after Gov. Togiola T.A. Tulafono issued an executive order in July setting a timeframe banning the carrier from operating flights on the route after a replacement carrier is found.
Hawaiian spokesman Keoni Wagner said the ruling confirms the company's understanding of the law.
"We can now put this behind us and focus on the future for our service to American Samoa," he said.
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