Late Wednesday night, struggling low-cost carrier ATA filed for bankruptcy for the second time in four years and announced that it was ceasing all operations immediately, leaving ticket-holding passengers stranded. This news also came as a surprise to ATA employees on the job, who learned their Wednesday-evening flights would be their last. The airline's collapse comes just a few days after Aloha Airlines folded its operations.
"We deeply regret the disruption and hardship caused by the sudden shutdown of ATA, an outcome we and our employees had worked very hard and made many sacrifices to avoid," said ATA COO Doug Yakola. "Unfortunately, the cancellation of a critical agreement for our military charter business undermined ATA's plan to address the current conditions facing all scheduled service airlines, including the tremendous spike in the price of jet fuel in recent months. As a result, it became impossible for ATA to continue operating."
As ATA cannot honor any tickets, passengers with reservations will be forced to make alternative travel arrangements at their own expense. This will likely be difficult and expensive for some travelers, especially those flying to or from Honolulu, where ATA and Aloha Airlines operated flights. The Honolulu Advertiser is reporting that passengers trying to reach the mainland are facing one-way ticket prices of $600 to $1,000.
After the announcement, ATA reached out to other carriers, asking them to assist ATA passengers. On its website, the airline lists phone numbers of other airlines so passengers can make new arrangements. ATA noted that customers who made ATA bookings with a credit card should call the card provider to find out if a refund can be obtained.