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  • Joe Breitfeller

Hawaiian Airlines Permanently Ends ‘Ohana by Hawaiian Service

Hawaiian Airlines has officially ended ‘Ohana by Hawaiian regional passenger service between Honolulu and Moloka’i and Lāna‘i, as well as statewide ATR freighter cargo service. ATR 72 freighter service and ATR 42 passenger service were previously suspended.

'Ohana by Hawaiian ATR 42 - Courtesy Hawaiian Airlines

On Thursday (May 27, 2021), Hawaiian Airlines announced that they will be permanently ending ‘Ohana by Hawaiian service between Honolulu and Moloka’i and Lāna‘i, as well as statewide ATR freighter cargo service. The carrier previously suspended ATR 72 freighter service in November 2020 and ATR 42 passenger service on January 14, 2021, while service between Honolulu and Kapalua was suspended back in March 2020. The severe decline in inter-island traffic resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and associated state and county quarantines triggered a labor union provision that led to the temporary suspension of services. After an in-depth assessment, Hawaiian Airlines has now decided to permanently end ‘Ohana by Hawaiian service.

In Thursday’s announcement, Hawaiian Airlines’ President and CEO, Peter Ingram, said,

“This is a heartbreaking decision, particularly for those of us who were involved in launching the business in 2014. We took a hard look at the service and could not identify a way to restart and sustainably operate. We thank the communities of Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i for their support of ‘Ohana by Hawaiian. We will continue to explore opportunities to return to and to reconnect the islands as Hawai‘i’s carrier.”

Hawaiian Airlines stated that they would have incurred significant costs and numerous obstacles in restarting the service with the current ‘Ohana by Hawaiian fleet. The regional carrier was operated by Idaho-based Empire Airlines as a third-party feeder carrier. At its peak, Empire employed 82 pilots, cabin crew and maintenance personnel in Hawai’i, as well as 15 in Idaho. Additionally, Contractor Worldwide Flight Services employed a staff of 28 ground handlers, while all other ‘Ohana by Hawaiian operations were managed by employees of Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines has started moving the ATR fleet to the U.S. mainland for storage and sale. The carrier has also loaned some of ‘Ohana by Hawaiian’s ground support equipment (GSE) to Mokulele Airlines, which is currently providing service between Honolulu and Moloka’i and Lāna‘i. ‘Ohana by Hawaiian was originally launched in the spring 2014, followed by all-cargo service in the summer of 2018.

Hawaiian® Airlines, Hawai’i’s hometown airline, has been the number one U.S. carrier for on-time performance for the past 17 years. The carrier has been in business for 92 years and is Hawai’i’s largest and longest-serving airline. Hawaiian Airlines offers more nonstop connectivity between Hawai’i and the U.S. mainland than any other airline, serving 16 gateways including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento. Hawaiian Airlines also recently introduced the first-ever nonstop service between Orlando (MCO) and Honolulu (HNL). Additionally, the carrier connects the islands with Japan, South Korea, Australia, American Samoa and Tahiti.

Due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaiian Airlines has temporarily suspended service to Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti.

Source: Hawaiian Airlines

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