Mokulele Airlines Expands at Molokai & Lāna‘i
Ohana’s Exit Provides Unprecedented Opportunity to Serve
Airline adds two more daily departures at Lāna‘i to complement hourly service at Molokai
Mokulele Airlines is set to become the sole airline serving Molokai and Lāna‘i beginning Friday when Ohana by Hawaiian suspends operations. The planned departure of Ohana was accelerated when the federal Department of Transportation agreed with Hawaiian Airlines that Mokulele is capable of providing the needed service to the communities. Ohana’s last flight is today.
Mokulele, a local airline for over 25 years, mergedbrands with Honolulu-based Makani Kai Air in June of this year as a result of decreased demand brought about by the state restrictions on air travel. The combined entity has stabilized the commuter airline market in Hawai‘i and positioned Mokulele to be able to withstand the hardships caused by the quarantines.
“Mokulele Airlines has gone beyond normal business practices to serve Molokai and Kalaupapa during the pandemic,” said Richard Schuman, Executive Vice President of Mokulele. “Prior to COVID, we were offering departures to and from Molokai every half hour, and we are ready to rebuildto that scheduleas the demand increases.”
Mokulele started serving the island of Lāna‘i in 2019, with direct flights from Kahului. Honolulu service to Lāna‘i was initiated in 2020 with two daily departures. “We are monitoring the demand on a daily basis and are adding extra daily flights as needed,” said Schuman. “We added a new Honolulu-Lāna‘i frequency earlier this week to meet the growing demand and then another one just this morning.” By Monday, January 18, the number of daily departures from Lāna‘i will have increased to seven per day. “We have plenty of planes and plenty of pilots that are ready to serve. Should the demand dictate, we could offer flights from the Lāna‘i airport every hour!”
Mokulele has worked to address concerns from the community following the announcement of the planned exit of Ohana Airlines last October. In the past, there have been some challenges transporting passengers with limited mobility. To solve that issue, Mokulele commissioned the construction of wheelchair lifts to ease the boarding process for these passengers. Lifts are now in place and have been used over the last two months. In addition, Mokulele is completing an alternative boarding procedure and seating configuration designed to accommodate persons-of-size. As a result, Mokulele can now transport passengers weighing up to 400 pounds. Booking of fights for passengers-of-size and limited mobility must be done by calling Mokulele’s Call Center at (808) 495-4188.
Mokulele Airlines now serves more airports in Hawai‘i than any other carrier and has the most daily departures of any airline in the state. Mokulele is also the only Hawaiian airline not to have furloughed any employees since the start of the pandemic.
Passengers having furtherquestions are encouraged to contact the 24/7 Customer Service Center.