If you’re planning to island-hop during your next Hawaii vacation, you’ll be glad to know Island Air’s flights from Honolulu to Kauai are now back up and running!

After ceasing flights last June amid a company restructuring, the state’s second-largest airline will restore service with six daily round-trip flights between Honolulu and Lihue on March 15.

The return to Kauai is a welcome announcement for many travelers who have long bemoaned the lack of Hawaii inter-island travel options. And, it’s expected to create approximately 32 airport-related jobs on Kauai and Oahu, which is good for Hawaii’s overall economy.

Honolulu-Kauai service will become the third interisland route for Island Air, which also flies between Honolulu and Kahului, and Kahului and Lanai. The addition of the new route is subject to the U.S. Department of Transportation approval.

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

The newly-returned Island Air flight to Kauai will land at Lihue Airport. Island Air suspended flights from Honolulu to Kauai last June during restructuring.

Island Air CEO Dave Pflieger, former Island Air CEO Les Murashige, and new owner, Jeffrey Au, are overseeing the airline during the transition as they wait for DOT approval.

“Recognizing that for many local people interisland travel is a necessity and not a luxury, this is an important first step in our mission to benefit our local community in Hawaii by providing more seat availability and more options for interisland travel,” Au told the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Hawaii visitors can also take advantage of the new route, which increases competition between airlines for your travel dollar. Once in Kauai, you can save even more money by booking your Kauai activities through Hawaii Aloha Travel. Horseback riding, bike tours, helicopter tours, movie tours, and trips to Waimea Valley are just a few of the many experiences you can look forward to when you travel to The Garden Isle.

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho praised the move and told the Honolulu Star Advertiser, “Island Air’s return to Kauai with service between Lihue and Honolulu is great news,” Carvalho continued, “This will create local jobs and contribute to our local economy as well as provide another interisland travel option for our residents and visitors.”

Although the restructuring forced the airline to cut 20% of its workforce, ”We couldn’t think of a more fitting way to demonstrate our new direction and commitment to create a strong second airline for Hawaii than to restore service to Kauai and offer local residents and visitors an even greater choice in air travel,” Pflieger told the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Island Air, which briefly dropped to third place behind Mokulele Airlines in interisland market share this past summer, has regained its No. 2 spot with a 4 percent share in October, according to the latest data available from the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Hawaiian Airlines ranks first at 91.8 percent with Mokulele Airlines now third at 3.1 percent. Makani Kai Air is fourth at 1 percent.

a hawaiian airlines jet

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Hawaiian Airlines still holds a strong market share in Hawaii, but smaller airlines, such as Island Air, continue to appeal to customers because they often offer lower prices.

The addition of Kauai service should strengthen Island Air’s No. 2 market share.

“Having grown up on Kauai and returning home often to visit family, I deeply appreciate the importance of having access to interisland travel options,” Murashige said.

And, for visitors, more options typically mean more competitive pricing. So, make sure you check-out ALL your Hawaii inter-island travel choices before making that final reservation!

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