updated 10/3/2007 12:49:45 PM ET 2007-10-03T16:49:45

Hawaiian Airlines President Mark Dunkerley has acknowledged interisland fares will go up if his airline wins its case against Mesa Air Group and go! airlines pulls out of Hawaii.

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And Mesa agrees, with its attorney defending against a lawsuit by Hawaiian saying an end to go! "would be disastrous for the consumers. Mesa is the equalizing force driving the prices down."

Hawaiian is seeking to halt go! ticket sales for one year and to collect $173 million against the carrier in federal bankruptcy court, accusing the Arizona-based Mesa Air Group of illegally using proprietary information it collected as a potential investor during Hawaiian's bankruptcy reorganization to plan unfair competition for upstart go! against the island carrier.

Aloha Airlines has filed a similar suit, which is set to go to trial next April.

Dunkerley did not tell the court how much fares would go up as the trial of Hawaiian's lawsuit unfolded this week, but the price of interisland tickets has gone down considerably since go! took on both Hawaiian and Aloha in the busy interisland market.

Regular one-way fares are down to about $40, with discounts reducing that to as low as just $1 on a return flight.

Prior to go!'s entry into the interisland market, regular one-way fares had risen closer to $80.

Hawaiian estimates losses of up to $50 million in the past year as go! periodically slashed fares to levels quickly matched by both Hawaiian as well as Aloha, which reports losses exceeding $60 million.

"I don't think anybody believes that $1 and $9 fares for one second represent a reasonable price that covers costs," Dunkerley testified Monday. He would not say, however, how much Hawaiian would increase fares if it once again had only Aloha as a competitor on major interisland routes.

"The market will establish the fare levels," he said.

Jeanette Freeman, Hawaiian legal affairs manager, told the court she monitored Mesa's downloading of financial information about Hawaiian at least a dozen times when it was bidding for the company.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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