Aloha Airgroup, Inc.
About halfway between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki Beach stands
an office complex of a half-dozen five-story, hexagon-shaped
buildings. Situated across the street from the waterfront, the
complex looks to have been built in the 1980's and is aptly named
Waterfront Plaza. A multiplex movie theatre, a variety of restaurants
and a few retail shops occupy the ground floors of the buildings.
Heading up to the fifth floor of one of the buildings (Building
Two) brings me to the reception counter of privately-held Aloha
Airgroup, the parent company of Aloha Airlines. Currently in
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the airline had revenues in
2004 of approximately $450 million. Hmm, there's no one manning
the desk and a note says to use the phone to call for assistance.
On the counter are applications for an Aloha AirAwards card and
similar-size brochures giving a brief history of the airline.
However, what gets my attention is the brightly colored regulation-size
bowling ball taking up a prime spot on the counter. On the bowling
ball it reads "Kilohana's favorite bowler" and scribbled
across the ball are a variety of signatures.
In a few minutes I'm meeting with Stu Glauberman, Director Corporate
Communications. I appreciate Glauberman's flexibility in meeting
with me especially since he hadn't seen the letter of introduction
and news clippings mailed a month earlier to CEO David Banmiller.
Aloha Airgroup has been in this building for seven years. About
150 people work here with the company occupying the 5th floor
as well as parts of the second and third floors. There's no company
cafeteria though there is a break room, smoking isn't allowed
in the workplace, employees enjoy free parking and there's no
corporate art collection-though they do have a collection of
vintage airline posters and photos of old planes (the airline
was founded in 1946). It's four miles to Honolulu airport, a
mile to the nearest freeway and there's no formal dress code.
Any usual employee perks? Free flights on Aloha Airlines and
reduced rates on other carriers.
We take a walk past CEO Banmiller's office but I don't get to
go in as there's a meeting going on. The boardroom in functional
and no-frills with a round table seating eight and only one model
airplane to be seen. *Note I've visited 15 airlines around the
world and normally find the CEO's office and boardroom crawling
with model airplanes and of course all sporting the airline's
Oh, and about that bowling ball front and center on the reception
counter. It seems the company has an office bowling tournament
every year and the worst bowler gets to sign the ball and suffer
the indignity of having it put on display for the whole year.
Company website: www.alohaairlines.com
Note* Aloha exited
bankruptcy in February 2006