Beginning April 1, 2014, Island Air will be ending its Molokai service for good. The Honolulu-based turboprop airline owned by Oracle Corporation CEO Larry Ellison made the announcement earlier this week. The Molokai flight schedule includes service to the island from Honolulu Airport, Kahului Airport, Lanai Airport and Lihue Airport.
If you have already made flights with Island Air after April 2, the airline advises passengers to call its customer service number at (800) 388-1105. However, if your reservation falls before the April deadline, then you will not be affected by the announcement, according to Island Air.
The airline did not give specifics on why the flights were canceled. However, Hawaiian Airlines’ Ohana aircrafts will begin offering flights to Molokai in mid-March. The subsidiary flights will begin three daily flights between Honolulu and Molokai on March 11 and then twice daily flights between Honolulu and Lanai beginning March 18.
Island Air Chief Executive Paul Casey said this in a statement, “Now that we are certain the island of Molokai will have adequate air service to match its needs, we have decided to redeploy our aircraft to another route that needs more capacity.” He did not say where these aircrafts will fly to after the April cancellation. Island Air flies five ATR 72-212s that seat 64 passengers. Hawaiian’s Ohana division will fly three ATR 42-500s that seat 48 passengers. Island Air will continue its flights between Honolulu and Kauai, Maui and Lanai. It will begin contacting customers who do not call the customer service line and assist them in ticket refunds or reservation transfers. All of its Molokai employees will be offered job transfers within the company, according to the announcement.
This situation is a good example of how much of a monopoly Hawaiian has on Hawaii’s airline industry. It seems every year, it announces more flights – both here and abroad – and more aircrafts. That could explain why roundtrip tickets inter-island are so expensive (about $100); they are able to charge passengers pretty much anything, with very little competition. Hopefully, Hawaiian cuts us a break and starts offering cheaper fares that we can actually afford!