Topic of the Week: Island Air is Shrinking

Island Air

Yep, I’m still traveling. I will be slower at approving any flagged comments and responding to any emails. I’ll be back as usual on Monday.

Little Island Air is getting littler. It is pulling out of Kaua’i entirely (leaving Hawaiian as the only airline flying interisland service there) and eliminating the Honolulu to Lana’i route. Remember, Island Air was bought by Larry Ellison, the man who owns most of Lana’i, so that’s a bit strange to see. Is this the beginning of the end for Island Air? Or is there some semblance of a plan here?

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11 comments on “Topic of the Week: Island Air is Shrinking

  1. Why would someone in the top five of richest people in America who bought an island and an airline that flys to it, not want that airline flying to where most people enter Hawaii at? If it’s loosing money he could be smart enough to know to not keep pumping ‘ego’ money into it, but just work on fixing problems to make it profitable and cutting routes right now would make sense. The sad part only means Hawaiian gets bigger and becomes more of the only game in town, and that’s never a good thing.

  2. Maybe it is a good thing if Hawaiian gets more of a monopoly. It’s a great airline that has good customer service, decent seating in economy, and generally treats its passengers right. I hate the way Air Canada created Air Canada Rouge on the assumption that passengers just want the cheapest fare no matter the lack of amenities or a tighter seat pitch.

  3. One thing to keep in mind. The two Four Seasons resorts on Lanai are closed for renovations at least through the summer. There are no real hotel rooms on the island at this time, just a small lodge, so there is no reason for many flights to the place right now.

  4. Can I say that I absolutely love this? Nothing warms my heart than seeing some rube try to play King and fail so utterly at doing so.

  5. No competition, higher fares….Southwest is a perfect example….routes with no competition have higher fares than the ones with competition..

  6. Island Air has been running a terrible operation for years, even before Ellison bought them. The Q400 operation was poorly timed, and after that ended the Dash 8-100s just kept getting older. Reliability was bad and with a small fleet they had no spares. Unfortunately they replaced the Dash 8s with old ATR 72s from American Eagle, and their reliability hasn’t been great either. There was talk about Q400s coming back to replace the ATRs, but that keeps getting deferred. This latest move makes me doubt their long term viability, though it does make sense to focus on the local market, which could well be more oriented to OGG than HNL, with both resorts closed for renovation.

  7. I flew on Island Air back in 2013. They seemed to be a good little operation, the flight was basically on time and completely full. Go! was also running at the time as well. It’s another chapter of ‘second tier’ carriers not being able to compete or being well managed. From Mid-Pacific, Royal Hawaiian, Mahalo, etc, the second tier carriers seem to be rise and fall every 5-10 years.

    I hope Island Air makes it – they trace their roots to Princeville Airways and Twin Otter service from HNL to Princeville, Kauai.

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