Hawaiian Airlines Emerges From Bankruptcy

HONOLULU (AP) -- Hawaiian Airlines Inc. formally emerged from bankruptcy after completing its financing, a day after celebrating the event.

The carrier had planned to complete its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Wednesday, when trustee Joshua Gotbaum handed control of the carrier over to President Mark Dunkerley to the cheers of airline officials and employees at Honolulu International Airport.

But the carrier had to complete the financial arrangements before technically ending its bankruptcy Thursday.

The airline officially emerged from bankruptcy with $60 million (euro49 million) in debt notes and a $50 million (euro41 million) bank credit line from Wells Fargo Foothill. Hawaiian said it chose the financing route over a $100 million (euro82 million) debt issuance previously proposed because market conditions made the larger debt unattractive.

Hawaiian said the debt notes will be bought by the investment group RC Aviation under a financing commitment made in August.

RC Aviation is a unit of San Diego-based Ranch Capital which last year spent $41 million (euro33.4 million) to acquire the majority share of Hawaiian's parent company, Hawaiian Holdings Inc.

''Hawaiian Airlines can now move forward without the costs and burdens of bankruptcy, well-positioned to take advantage of opportunities as they arise,'' said Lawrence S. Hershfield, Hawaiian Holdings' chairman.

Hawaiian filed for bankruptcy in March 2003 and has since renegotiated labor contracts and restructured its plane leases.

Hawaiian, America's12th largest carrier, has 135 daily flights and is one of the largest employers in Hawaii, with 3,339 workers.