Maui Business

Larry Ellison Now Official Owner of Island Air

February 26, 2013, 4:10 PM HST
* Updated March 1, 4:56 PM
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Larry Ellison, photo courtesy County of Maui. Feb. 19, 2013 meeting with Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Larry Ellison, photo courtesy County of Maui. Feb. 19, 2013 meeting with Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

By Wendy Osher

Lawrence “Larry” Ellison was officially introduced today as the new owner of Island Air.  The sale of the airline closed today, effectively securing the future of the company and its employees.

Ellison who is the billionaire owner of the Oracle Corp., and who bought most of the Island of Lanai at the end of last year, was rumored to be the prospective buyer for Island Air last month.

Today’s announcement included no planned staff changes.  According to a media statement, company officials said Island Air will continue its operations as usual while developing plans for additional planes, routes and services.

All current tickets will be honored and all of the airline’s Cloud9 members will retain their status and benefits.

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“This is another major investment and commitment to Hawaiʻi,” said Paul Marinelli, vice president of Lawrence Investments, LLC in a press statement this afternoon.

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“We understand the critical importance of transportation in an island state and we will ensure that Island Air strengthens its role, capacity and service to the people of Hawaiʻi. We recognize the need for providing options for travelers, and we believe Island Air has tremendous potential to deliver value to both residents and visitors.”

Island Air. Courtesy Photo.

Island Air. Courtesy Photo.

“We are excited Mr. Ellison has acquired Island Air. He has the vision and resources to literally take Island Air to new heights,” said Les Murashige, Island Air president.

Murashige said the entire Island Air team pulled together over the past year to restructure and position the company for success saying, “this sale represents the culmination of that process.”

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“I want to personally thank our 245 employees, the unions that represent them, and our entire management team for their efforts this past year. And, on behalf of all of us at Island Air, we welcome Mr. Ellison and we look forward to an exciting future together,” said Murashige.

Island Air has already added one new ATR 72 aircraft to its fleet. The aircraft offers customers a larger plane with more seats, more leg-room and greater comfort. Company officials say the ATR 72 is also environmentally and economically superior to other aircraft in its category.

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