Hawaiian Airlines to Start Molokai Service Next Year
Hawaiian Airlines announced last week that their parent company, Hawaiian Holdings, Inc., will begin service to Molokai and Lanai sometime next year. The company has already purchased one turboprop aircraft (powered by propeller rather than jet engine) to service the routes, and has a purchase agreement for a second, according to a Hawaiian Airlines press release.
The ATR 42 twin-turboprop aircraft will be configured to carry 44 to 50 passengers.
“These are the ideal aircraft for service to the less populated islands in our state,” said Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Holdings. “This new service will complement the B717 jet service offered by Hawaiian Airlines as well as provide the additional service that Molokai and Lanai residents have been requesting.”
The new turboprop service will operate separately from Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaiian Holdings is currently developing the name and brand identity of the new entity, according to the release.
“The flights will run daily, and the frequency will be competitive, but we won’t finalize the routes until we are closer to launch,” said Ann Bottecelli, senior vice president of corporate communications and public affairs.
While the flights will not be operated by Hawaiian Airlines, Bottecelli said it is likely that Hawaiian Miles customers will be able to redeem their miles while flying to Molokai and Lanai.
“We expect folks will be able to earn and use miles on these routes,” she said.
The airlines first announced their intent to add neighbor island destinations to their itinerary in July of this year. The move was made possible after the company successfully negotiated union agreements for its pilots and flight attendants to operate turbo-prop aircraft, according to Botticelli.
The last time Hawaiian Airlines served Molokai was in 2004, when the carrier stopped service because of bankruptcy. The carrier will join Island Air, Mokulele Airlines and Pacific Wings in providing scheduled service to the Ho`olehua Airport.