Heading into the 1990s, Hawaiian Airlines faced financial difficulties, racking up millions of dollars in losses throughout the previous three years. Due to the airline's increasingly unprofitable operations, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 1993. During this time, the company reduced many of its costs: reorganizing its debt, wrestling concessions from employees, cutting overcapacity, and streamlining its fleet by disposing many of the planes it had added to its fleet just a few years earlier.
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.