Cruise Line Reps Explore Molokai

Wednesday, January 10th, 2024

The past 20-plus years have seen repeated protests, and even blockades, aimed at cruise lines wanting to visit Molokai. Now, a new cruise company contemplates testing the waters.

Representatives from American Cruise Lines journeyed to Molokai in early December at the behest of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and Sen. Lynn DeCoite, according to company President and CEO Charlie Robertson.

“We didn’t want to catch anyone off guard,” said Robertson. “This was very much an exploratory trip, and we were honored to be invited to come out to Molokai…It was really just a trip to ask questions and hear what Molokai and other communities in Hawaii would expect from a ship like ours.”…

Can Insurance Providers Help Improve Flight Service?

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

Can Insurance Providers Help Improve Flight Service?

By Jack Kiyonaga, Editor 

AlohaCare health insurance services 2,445 Molokai residents. Now, the insurance provider is looking at fixing a critical step in serving Molokai residents: getting to the appointment. 

Lacking most types of medical specialists on-island, Molokai residents often must fly off-island for critical appointments. This past spring was a well-documented nightmare as Molokai patients routinely missed appointments due to unexpected flight delays and cancellations. These concerns led to AlohaCare sitting down with Mokulele Airlines and government legislators to talk about solutions. 

Meetings with State Sen. Lynn Decoite and Rep. Mahina Poepoe resulted in a commitment to collaborate across companies, explained AlohaCare VP of External Affairs Paula Arcena. …

Unreliable Transportation Decreases Dental Services

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023

There are now decreased dental services on Molokai due to unreliable transport into and out of the island. 

Dr. Tabitha Chiu, DMD writes: 

“Dear Nalu Dental patients,

In the few months that l’ve been working at Nalu Dental, l’ve felt so welcomed by everyone that l’ve met. It’s been a privilege to be able to provide dental care to your community. Unfortunately, due to the unpredictability of transportation on and off the island, I will be pausing my commutes from Oahu. It has become difficult to manage my schedule when flights are consistently delayed, often without notice. I hope to return once transportation is more reliable.…

Disappointing Services

Wednesday, July 19th, 2023

To recap a previous community letter, we, the people of Molokai, used to have a ferry that traveled to/from Maui twice daily, and we used to have services from three different airlines. Since February 2021, our only means of off island travel is via Mokulele Airlines/Southern Airways for medical, business, family, recreation travels.  (And some have access to private boats.)

It’s with great disappointment that Mokulele Airlines has not been dependable in providing reliable and consistent services.  We travel frequently each month for the reasons mentioned above, and we have a corporate account.  Too often our flights have been delayed, changed, or canceled. …

County to Consider Public Ferry

Wednesday, July 5th, 2023

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

A feasibility study to consider a Maui County-owned ferry system is slated to be completed in the next year. Lanai Councilmember Gabe Johnson, who has spearheaded the initiative, said $300,000 has been budgeted for the study for this fiscal year that will determine options for how ferries between Molokai, Maui and Lanai could be run, how much it would cost, where the funding might come from, and other variables. 

He pointed to how Maui’s public bus transportation is operated, with the buses owned by Maui County and operated under a contract with Roberts Hawaii. He said a similar arrangement for the ferry service might be an option. …

Tokuda Pledges Air Assistance

Wednesday, May 10th, 2023

Tokuda Pledges Air Assistance

By Jack Kiyonaga, Reporter 

Congressman Jill Tokuda, the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s Second District, is in the process of writing a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding Molokai’s airline crisis. 

“I’d like to create a thoughtful letter that really lays out the transportation crisis and vulnerability that exists,” said Tokuda. “Right now, the only constant is that it is inconsistent,” she added. 

Tokuda explained to Molokai residents gathered at her town hall meeting held at Mitchell Pauole Center last Thursday that the FAA needs data on flight delays and cancelations along with personal testimony to make a difference. 

Molokai community members related horror stories of family members passing away without loved ones and surgeries cancelled – all due to flight expense and unreliability. …

Mokulele Promises Improvements

Wednesday, April 5th, 2023

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

Mokulele Airlines executives say better service is on the way after months of what some residents describe as a nightmare flying on the island’s only air carrier. March brought particularly frustrating experiences with extensive delays and cancellations that the airline says were due to weather and mechanical issues, leaving passengers stranded. 

Mokulele serves as a lifeline for the small community, especially when it comes to critical medical appointments and off-island work. But residents say they can no longer depend on Mokulele to get them there. 

“Whether you’re coming here [to Oahu] for a Bruno Mars concert or you’re coming here for your chemotherapy, either one, you gotta be able to depend on us to leave pretty close to the time you made that ticket — that’s where we have to get to,” said Richard Schuman, executive vice president of Mokulele and owner of the former Makani Kai Air. …

Mayor Bissen Heard Mokulele Concerns

Wednesday, March 29th, 2023

By Jack Kiyonaga, Reporter 

Molokai residents took the opportunity to air their many flight grievances and address overwhelming frustration with unreliable and expensive flights on Mokulele Airlines two weeks ago when Mayor Richard Bissen made a two-day visit to Molokai.  

A talk story event at the Mitchell Pauole Center constituted the mayor’s first stop on his Holomua Kakou initiative, with the goal of visiting towns around Maui County. 

The purpose of the trip was to run the County of Maui out of Molokai for two days, as well as field questions from Molokai residents in a communal talk story gathering. 

While reminding the Molokai community that the County government does not have input on private airlines like Mokulele, Bissen called Keith Sisson, Chief of Staff at Mokulele’s parent company Southern Airways, to have a conversation with Molokai residents. …

Molokai Flight Subsidy Proposed

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

A proposed flight subsidy program for Molokai that’s currently moving through Hawaii legislature seeks to bring relief to Molokai residents who struggle with the high cost of air travel. Molokai’s Senator Lynn DeCoite proposed the bill to “assist with the cost of airfare for Molokai residents traveling inter island for essential services.”

Senate Bill 784 would require the state Dept. of Transportation to establish a one-year pilot program to provide subsidies for airlines providing service to Molokai. Since January 2021, only Mokulele Airlines flies into Molokai, and the bill seeks to not only lower ticket prices for residents but also incentivize other airlines to serve the island. …

E-Bike Business Debuts

Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

E-Bike Business Debuts

By Jack Kiyonaga, Community Reporter 

Molokai has its first electric bike rental business, recently launched by Glenn Poller. 

Through Molokai E-Bike Rental, Poller is currently renting out five e-bikes. Electric bikes use a small battery-powered motor to assist when pedaling. Riders can choose between pedaling with engine assistance or just using the throttle, depending on how reliant they want to be on the bike’s 750-watt electric engine. 

Poller’s bikes are loaded up with puncture resistant tires, shock absorbers and lights, and come with a helmet, rear storage bags and lock. The e-bikes cover a range of 60-80 miles and top out at about 25 mph, he said. …