Lanai Is Getting Subsidized Air Service– What About Molokai?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

For the first time, the community of Lanai will be getting subsidized flights through the federal Essential Air Service (EAS) program.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s EAS program was established in 1978 to ensure small or underserved communities maintain adequate transportation to larger hubs. The program offers subsidies, if needed, to air carriers on a per-flight basis.
Lanai and Molokai were determined as EAS airports in 1983 but in the program’s more than 40 years, no airline has requested a subsidy to either island – until now. Both airports have operated under the “basic” EAS program, in which the U.S. DOT holds no contracts with airlines as long as a required level of air service continues to be offered.…

Alaska-Hawaiian Merger Won’t Solve Molokai Flight Issues

Thursday, April 11th, 2024

Molokai residents who were hoping the proposed Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines merger could help the flight crisis on Molokai, will unfortunately be disappointed. Representatives from Alaska Airlines were clear that they will not be flying to Molokai, officially partnering with Mokulele or bringing in an additional Molokai airline.

“We knew this was going to be a little bit of an unusual visit…We knew we didn’t have a solution,” explained Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines regional president of Hawaii, at a meeting with representatives from Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines, the U.S. Congress and Molokai community members on March 28.

Airline representatives sighted “significant airport limitations” of the Ho’olehua airport for their current decision.…

Seaglider Speculation

Friday, April 5th, 2024

Seaglider Speculation

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a hydrofoil, floating boat?

The Hawaii Seaglider Initiative made waves back in January when they proposed interisland transportation on seagliders as a reality. Now, Molokai residents and representatives are pushing for details on the project.

The seagliders are being developed by Regent, an East Coast-based company promising to deliver 100 percent electric, zero-emission, high-speed gliders, projected to be operational by 2026. With partners such as Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, and Southern Airways, Regent already has a $7.9 billion backlog for their product. Southern Airways, owner and operator of Mokulele Airlines, is slated to be the first customer worldwide to receive the seagliders, according to David Uchiyama, a community and government representative for Regent.…

Unreliable Flights Causing Medical Access ‘Crisis’

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024

Unreliable Flights Causing Medical Access ‘Crisis’

Molokai residents are continuing to struggle with unreliable flights on the island’s only air carrier, and many say they have missed critical medical appointments off island because of delays. Several options are being explored to address the issues, but will they solve the problem?
“It’s sad, because if we get delayed or canceled, we just not going to make our appointment,” said resident Andrea Dudoit, who is battling breast cancer. “And that’s putting lives at risk. It’s just not fair. I don’t think it’s right.”
Dudoit said she has missed two chemotherapy treatments on Oahu because of delays or cancellations on Mokulele Airlines, the sole airline currently serving Molokai.…

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. …