Airfares Price War Comes to Molokai
On Tuesday, Pacific Wings Airlines announced plans to launch a new discount carrier to offer flights from Honolulu to Lanai and Molokai for only $29 plus taxes. A few days later, Island Air announced more drastic reductions as a reaction to their competitor.
PW Express will start flying those routes in February and will offer $29 one-way fares, matching other island routes and competitive with Island Air, the state’s main carrier flying those routes.
Pointing out that The Pacific Wings rate comes to $34.90 with additions, Island Air will now offer those tickets for $32.10 with taxes and fees. The price applies to nine seats on Island Air flights from Honolulu to Molokai and Lanai as well as on its service from Honolulu to Kapalua. Island Air offered flights for $54 until last month when it offered a $12 return fare for passengers who purchase roundtrip tickets.
The move came after Island Air laid off 65 of its 415 employees and blamed go! for destabilizing the interisland fare structure. Greg’s Aviation Services and Molokai Air Shuttle also fly to Molokai.
Pacific Wings will fly 23 daily nonstop flights, including 14 per day between Honolulu and Molokai and five daily to Lanai. The company also will fly four daily flights between Kahului and Molokai. Pacific Wings President Greg Kahlstorf said the new $29 fare will apply to all tickets sold by PW Express.
On Saturday, Kulia Kelii Kuli-Peters and Dennis Faria were flown over to Oahu by Pacific Wings. Speaking to Paul Dreines of KHNL-TV (channel 8,) they expressed the needs of Molokai residents for lower air fares and regular scheduling of flights.
Other islands have already seen low airfares due to an interisland price war among go!, Aloha and Hawaiian airlines. But fares for trips to Lanai and Molokai, have remained higher, causing significant inconvenience and frustration as well as greater medical expenses for off-island procedures.