Privately held Aloha Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, buckling under fuel prices that are currently about 50% higher than they were a year ago.

The Honolulu-based unit of Aloha Airgroup hired Giuliani Capital Advisers to study strategic alternatives following the Thursday night filing. Local rival Hawaiian Air sought Chapter 11 protection in 2003 and is preparing to reorganize. In all, five domestic U.S. carriers are currently operating under bankruptcy-court protection.

"It will be business as usual as we move forward to complete the restructuring of our company," Aloha said in a statement. The company plans to continue taking reservations and honoring tickets, and said its flights will be operated as scheduled.

Aloha employs about 3,700 people and operates 27 jets. The company said it was cutting 12 executive jobs and freezing management hiring. The company has reported four straight quarterly losses.