Hawaiian Airlines has announced that it will temporarily suspend its ‘Ohana by Hawaiian cargo and passenger operation to those islands from November 1. With this announcement, smaller carrier Mokulele will be the sole service provider to these destinations. Hawaiian took such a step as it has been seeing very low travel demand because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions. This situation has led to furloughs and affected its ability to provide services on this route. The state’s largest carrier’s action has triggered a labor provision in its contract with mainline pilots. The Payroll Support Program (PSP) expired earlier in September following which the airlines had to reduce its workforce by 2,500 employees. Peter Ingram, president, and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines had lobbied for additional support but in vain. As a result, further funding for airlines is currently stalled.
Commenting on the development, Ingram said that they are disappointed in not being able to provide the service. “This is a tough situation for both Empire Airlines and Hawaiian as we are passing through a very challenging phase. But we all are committed to returning flights to people who rely on ‘Ohana by Hawaiian,” the CEO said. He also said that it has been an honor to serve the people of Molokai, Lanai, and West Maui. ‘Ohana by Hawaiian flights was started in the spring of 2014 with 48-seat ATR-42 turboprop aircraft. In the summer of 2018, all-cargo service was started with ATR-72 aircraft.
‘Ohana is currently running three daily round trips between Lanai and Honolulu and four daily round trips between Molokai and Honolulu. ‘Ohana by Hawaiian suspended flights between Honolulu and Kapalua in West Maui in March. Meanwhile, Hawaiian has started the refund process to guests affected by the suspension of services. Cargo customers are being offered and an option to have got their products transported with Hawaiian’s A321 neo aircraft and Boeing 717. As of now, ‘Ohana is unlikely to start its services this year. Hawaiian has so far not set the date of resumption. Reports suggest that it will not resume services until early mid-2021.