3:30 pm update: Maui Fire Department crews have located the crash site and confirmed there are no survivors. The downed helicopter was found about a mile and a half above the highway just east of Puko`o Fire Station. The Maui Police Department is coordinating recovery of the victims and preserving the wreckage for federal investigation.
Initial story at 1:15 pm:
A land, air and water search is currently underway for a missing Molokai helicopter. The black helicopter, with two people on board, reportedly departed Honolulu Tuesday evening and never arrived at a private helicopter pad on Molokai as expected.
The Coast Guard hasn’t released the names of the missing persons pending notification of family members, but the pilot has been unofficially confirmed as Gary Galiher, a prominent attorney and east Molokai homeowner with a helipad on his property.…
By Catherine Cluett Pactol
The Molokai ferry, operated by Sea Link of Hawaii, Inc., is on the verge of ending its services. Claiming falling ridership, loss of revenue and increased operating costs, company President and Captain Dave Jung has filed a request for shutdown with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). He said if the request is not granted, he will be forced to declare bankruptcy.
“Ridership has really gone down in last year,” said Jung, pointing to cheap air flights scooping up their passengers. “Today we’re lucky if we get 20 people a run.”
The 100-foot, three-story boat can hold up to 150 passengers, and Jung previously said in 2013, the service suffered $108,000 in losses and then $288,000 in 2014.…
For 80 years, Molokai Drugs has doled out over-the-counter remedies to thousands of island residents. This year, however, the island’s only pharmacy is tending to the health of a unique customer: Molokai High’s ailing fleet of school buses.
To celebrate their milestone anniversary, the owners of Molokai Drugs donated a new 14-passenger bus to the high school, which spent nearly $15,000 last year in bus repairs alone.
To thank the community for 80 years of aloha, Molokai Drugs donated a much-needed bus for students. Photo by Lee DeRouin
The brand-new vehicle, which will be used on Maui, is a start to replacing a collection of buses that over the years have cost the school thousands of dollars, delayed numerous trips and limited the number of students and equipment that teams can take off island.…
Molokai’s gas prices are dropping–but still hover well above Hawaii’s average. Photos by Colleen Uechi.
Recently, many Hawaii residents have been breathing a sigh of relief at the gas pump. Across the state and the country, prices have dropped more than a dollar over the past year and are continuing to fall.
A year ago, gas prices in Hawaii averaged $4.21 cents a gallon, according to price-tracking website GasBuddy.com. Prices are now at $2.89. The average throughout the U.S. is even cheaper, as prices have tumbled from $3.34 to $2.29 a gallon within the last year.
On Molokai, prices are also declining, but the overall rates are more than a dollar more expensive than rates on neighboring islands.…
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.…