Maui News

Mokulele Airlines Expands on Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i

January 14, 2021, 2:17 PM HST
* Updated January 14, 2:21 PM
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‘Ohana’s Exit Provides Opportunity to Serve; Mokulele adds two more daily departures at Lāna‘i to complement hourly service at Molokai

Mokulele Airlines, Cessna Grand Caravan

Mokulele Airlines is set to become the sole airline serving Molokai and Lāna‘i beginning Friday when Ohana by Hawaiian suspends operations.

Mokulele Airlines reports that the planned departure of Ohana was accelerated when the federal Department of Transportation agreed that Mokulele is capable of providing the needed service to the communities. Ohana’s last flight to the rural communities was scheduled for today.

Mokulele, which has served Hawaii for more than 25 years, merged brands with Honolulu-based Makani Kai Air in June of 2020 as a result of decreased demand brought about by the state restrictions on air travel. The airline reports that the combined entity “has stabilized the commuter airline market in Hawai‘i and positioned Mokulele to be able to withstand the hardships caused by the quarantines.”

“Mokulele Airlines has gone beyond normal business practices to serve Molokai and Kalaupapa during the pandemic,” said Richard Schuman, Executive Vice President of Mokulele. “Prior to COVID, we were offering departures to and from Molokai every half hour, and we are ready to rebuild to that schedule as the demand increases.”

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Mokulele started serving the island of Lāna‘i in 2019, with direct flights from Kahului. Honolulu service to Lāna‘i was initiated in 2020 with two daily departures.

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“We are monitoring the demand on a daily basis and are adding extra daily flights as needed,” said Schuman. “We added a new Honolulu-Lāna‘i frequency earlier this week to meet the growing demand and then another one just this morning.”

By Monday, Jan. 18, the number of daily departures from Lāna‘i will have increased to seven per day, according to the airline.

“We have plenty of planes and plenty of pilots that are ready to serve. Should the demand dictate, we could offer flights from the Lāna‘i airport every hour,” said Schuman.

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