By Dave Jung, Molokai Ferry General Manager
Photo by Catherine Cluett
The Molokai Ferry has been running a fixed schedule for the last 27 years, operated by Sea Link of Hawaii. However, last year, airline travel from Molokai dramatically changed, and single engine aircraft are very fuel efficient and cheap to operate. With air fares down to $39, the ferry just can’t compete in this current price war.
A new ruling by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) allows the ferry to change our schedule on a monthly basis and may cancel a voyage when the number of reservations is below 20 passengers on either segment of a round trip 48 hours before departure.…
Molokai residents traveling to Hawaii Island will have a much easier option starting in September. Mokulele Airlines is adding a direct flight between Molokai and Kona, eliminating the need to stop on Oahu or Maui en route to Hawaii Island.
The airline will be offering two round trip flights daily, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, according to Mokulele representatives.
“Primarily this service is being offered because of the feedback we were given from the community,” said Mokulele President and CEO Ron Hansen. “We realized that the residents of Molokai were looking for a fair price for travel to the Big Island.…
By P.J. O’Reilley
“I hate the airline industry,” is a sentiment that is generally shared by everyone in the flying public, but unusual to hear from a guy who runs an airline. But then, Richard Schuman, owner of Makani Kai Air, is an unusual person in his own right.
“All these airfare fluctuations,” he says, “are ridiculous. The airlines are gouging people, charging more on Fridays and Sundays, when folks need to fly.” He admits that the price gyrations, which are standard operating procedure for modern airlines, are profit driven, “but to me, that’s the wrong focus. We’re focused on people’s needs.”
Makani Kai Air is the only airline in the state and perhaps the only airline in the country that charges a flat rate.…
On June 5, the Maui County Council passed a bill to appropriate $105,000 to Sea Link of Hawaii, which operates the Molokai ferry and has reported losses in riders and funds over the past year.
With a contract still to be written for the funding, it will take about a month for Sea Link to receive the money, according to County Economic Development Director Teena Rasmussen. She added they’re still in the process of deciding whether the finding will be given all at once or in increments.
Since January, the ferry has been losing an average of $20,000-$25,000 a month, according Sea Link President and Senior Captain Dave Jung.…
Mokulele Airlines News Release
Mokulele Airlines will celebrate King Kamehameha Day by lei’ing the first 500 passengers who island hop on June 11 from all nine airport stations.
“Mokulele was founded in 1994 by a Native Hawaiian, Rebecca “Kawehi” Inaba with the goal to share the beauty of the islands with passengers,” said Ron Hansen, president and CEO of Mokulele Airlines. “Our mission to honor that passion has only magnified. That’s why we provide daily service to Hawaii’s smallest communities including Hana, Waimea and Kapalua.”
Mokulele Airlines has the newest fleet of aircrafts in the state and operates over 120 daily flights from 9 airports including – Honolulu and Kalaeloa (Barbers Point) airports on Oahu, Kapalua, Kahului and Hana airports on Maui, Kona and Waimea airport on the Big Island, Ho`olehua and Kalaupapa airports and Mokokai.…
With competition increasing, the Molokai ferry wants to scale back further than originally planned. On May 13, Sea Link of Hawaii, Inc. withdrew its petition to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to suspend one daily route between Molokai and Maui. The company instead plans to petition the PUC to require a minimum number of passengers to make a trip between the two islands.
“The concept we’re working on now is being what’s called a common carrier versus a scheduled carrier,” said company President Dave Jung. “A scheduled carrier has to run if you’ve got one passenger. … We want to be a common carrier where we have a minimum.”
Jung said they made the decision because he felt the original petition “was gonna drag out.” In a letter to the PUC on April 14, the Division of Consumer Advocacy recommended a thorough investigation that included public hearings, which Jung felt the company didn’t have time for.…
Makani Kai News Release
Hotel Molokai, in conjunction with Makani Kai Air and Molokai Car Rental is now offering an “Escape to Molokai” combination package. The package includes two nights’ stay at the Hotel Molokai, round trip airfare for two to Molokai from either Honolulu or Kahului, and a two-day car rental from Molokai Car Rental, all for $489, taxes and fees included.
“This combination package makes travel to our island affordable,” said Michael Drew, General Manager of Hotel Molokai. “We’re happy to do what we can to encourage Hawaii residents to come to Molokai and enjoy the open spaces and unspoiled environment.”
Although the package will be available from both Oahu and Maui, Makani Kai Air will not commence service between Molokai and Kahului until Monday, June 1.…
Possible financial aid is in sight for the Molokai ferry, whose recent losses in ridership and funds have forced company president David Jung to consider a shutdown as early as June.
On May 15, the county’s Budget and Finance Committee will discuss a bill in which Mayor Alan Arakawa has proposed a $105,000 subsidy for the ferry. The money would come from the county’s Economic Development Revolving Fund (EDRF) and apply to the 2015 fiscal year, which ends June 30.
“The ferry throughout the year has seen a decrease in ridership as hard times have come to Molokai,” said Jung, testifying at the county council’s May 7 meeting.…
Photo courtesy of Makani Kai.
Starting June 1, Makani Kai Air’s single-prop Cessnas will be heading east. The company plans to offer flights to Maui, after repeated requests from Molokai residents who enjoyed their services, said airline owner Richard Schuman.
Currently, Makani Kai operates between Ho`olehua, Kalaupapa and Honolulu. In June the airline will add six daily round trips between Molokai and Kahului and two weekly between Kalaupapa and Kapalua, according to P.J. O’Reilley, the company’s director of sales and marketing.
Makani Kai will kick off the new routes with introductory online fares of $39 one way and $78 round trip between Maui and Molokai.…
While the Maui County Council has yet to decide exactly what type of assistance to extend to Molokai’s floundering ferry system, councilmembers are nearly unanimous in their support of the ferry’s operations.
At their April 7 meeting, councilmembers passed a resolution urging Mayor Alan Arakawa to seek a subsidy for the ferry, which the Lahaina Cruise Company (LCC) reports has lost both riders and funds over the past year.
Councilmember Stacy Crivello introduced the resolution, which asked the mayor to propose an amendment to the fiscal year 2015 budget to appropriate $500,000 to the ferry. The money would come from the county’s Economic Development Revolving Fund (EDRF), which, according to the resolution, currently has an estimated balance of $1 million.…