Hawaiian Airlines began to expand its footprint throughout the 1980s, as the result of intense competition on inter-island routes created by the entrance of Mid Pacific Air into the market. In 1985, the company began its first foray outside the inter-island market through charter services to the South Pacific and then throughout the rest of the Pacific using Douglas DC-8 aircraft. Despite the early successes of this new business, Hawaiian was forced to curtail its charter services when the Federal Government banned all DC-8 and B707 aircraft without hush kits from operating within the US. Hawaiian did, however, manage to gain a short exemption for its South Pacific services.
In March 2003, Hawaiian Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in its history. The airline continued its normal operations, and at the time was overdue for $4.5 million worth of payments to the pilots' pension plan. Within the company, it was suggested that the plan be terminated. As of May 2005, Hawaiian Airlines had received court approval of its reorganization plan. The company emerged from bankruptcy protection on June 2, 2005, with reduced operating costs through renegotiated contracts with its union work groups; restructured aircraft leases; and investment from RC Aviation, a unit of San Diego-based Ranch Capital, which bought a majority share in parent company Hawaiian Holdings Inc in 2004.