Billionaire Larry Ellison has been on quite the shopping spree lately. First, it was an entire Hawaiian Island, then a Hawaiian airline company; and now, a second local airline to add to his oversized bag of outlandish purchases.
According to a flurry of news reports, Ellison plans to take over go! Airlines but is still working out the logistics with Phoenix-based parent company Mesa Air Group. In the meantime, speculation persists.
Some say that Ellison’s purchase of go! will lead to an inevitable merge with his first airline purchase, Island Air. This could, in turn, result in major competition for interisland carrier Hawaiian Airlines. Others say that the merge would be bad news for travelers. Less interisland carriers could mean higher ticket prices, leaving travelers at their mercy.
If we look on the upside of possible outcomes, then travelers could benefit from friendly competition – thanks to price airfare war. In 2006, go! launched a fare war with Hawaiian and then-major rival Aloha Airlines. go! offered one-way tickets for as low as $19! Good for travelers; bad for Aloha Airlines. The price war actually caused Aloha’s eventual shut down.
While we wait for official word on Ellison’s third major island purchase, people will continue to speculate. We can only hope that Ellison keeps us, regular folk, in mind as he moves forward with his overall plans in the islands.
Posted by: Bruce Fisher