Hawaiian Airlines said today it is dismantling ‘Ohana for Hawaiian, including the fully loaded Neighbor Island service and flights to Molokai, Lanai and Kapalua to West Maui.
Jon Snook, the Hawaiian chief of operations, said a pandemic-related drop in demand for travel had already led to the temporary suspension of service with ATR 72 aircraft in November 2020 and passenger service with ATR 42 aircraft halted. on January 14th. Service between Honolulu and Kapalua was suspended in March 2020.
The changes that are becoming permanent today leave Mokulele Airlines the only airline to fly to both Molokai and Lanai.
Snook told Star-Advertiser today that the pandemic was the “final key to the coffin” of ‘Ohana by Hawaiian, who has struggled to keep load and price factors in sync since its inception.
‘Ohana for Hawaiian flights with ATR-42 turboprop aircraft was launched in the spring of 2014, followed by a full cargo service with ATR-72 aircraft in the summer of 2018.
“This has been a business that has been a financial strain for us for a long time. It has never always been profitable. It’s probably a result that would have occurred anyway. Current circumstances surrounding the pandemic precipitated a previous analysis of the long-term plan for this service, ”Snook said.
Peter Ingram, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, said in a statement that the decision not to restore service was seriously weighed.
“This is a heartbreaking decision, especially for those of us who participated in the launch of the business in 2014,” Ingram said. “We took a hard look at the service and couldn’t identify a way to restart and operate sustainably.”
Snook said the quarantine on the neighboring island killed the lawsuit at a time when ‘Ohana, of Hawaiian, was already struggling to compete against a carrier flying smaller planes at a lower cost.
“Our plane is much bigger and much more expensive to operate, so we couldn’t generate enough volume at those prices to be successful,” he said.
Then came the forty voyages from the neighboring island.
“It simply came to our notice then. It killed our ability to be able to operate the flight, and once you’ve landed a fleet like that for a year, the cost of restarting again is considerable, ”he said.
Snook said Hawaiian will monitor the market and is confident that the island’s quarantine will rise over time. He said he would love to return to the market in Hawaii, but right now, with the planes at his disposal, he currently sees no “line of sight” for the return.
‘Hawaiian Ohana was operated by Idaho-based Empire Airlines as a third-party carrier. At its peak, Empire employed 82 pilots, flight attendants and maintenance personnel in Hawaii, as well as 15 at its home base in Idaho. Contractor World Flight Services hired a staff of 28 people to provide ground handling services.
Snook could not immediately say how the decision will affect Empire and the hired employees. But he said Hawaiian employees, who were assigned to ‘Ohana for Hawaiian operations, avoided the previous routes due to federal relief. Snook said Hawaiian will now give them a chance to reassign themselves to different areas of the company.
Hawaiian has already had a company-wide memory of most employees working and currently employs 6,850 people, mostly in Hawaii.
The carrier announced Monday that it expects to cover more than 400 seats before the full summer season. Seats are available at airport operations, which mainly include part-time jobs such as guest service agents, ramp agents, operations managers, and aircraft mechanics in Honolulu, Maui, Hilo, Kona, Lihue, and certain cities. from the west coast of the United States.
The company’s corporate office in Honolulu is looking for full-time employees in computer science, marketing, human resources and sales.
The Hawaiian need is more acute to fill jobs in Maui, which has bounced back faster than the rest of the state. The carrier offers a $ 2,000 login bonus to attract experienced applicants for most Maui jobs.
Travel demand is back. Hawaii has seen a rebound in the first quarter and on Tuesday unveiled an 8K projecting that its revenue forecasts for the second quarter of 2021 will now be 42 to 46% compared to the second quarter of 2019.
This is an improvement on Hawaii’s previous estimate that would drop from 45 to 50%.
Still, Snook said Hawaiian said he has not recovered enough from the pandemic minimums to avoid triggering a provision in the airline’s pilot contract that restricted the company from providing Ohana services to Hawaii.
The provision of the contract prevents Hawaiian from offering Ohana flights to Hawaiian, which are operated by turboprop aircraft by Empire Airlines as a third-party carrier, when severely reduced Boeing 717 and Airbus A321neo interisland jet flights operated by Hawaiian pilots.
Hawaiian said it has begun moving its ATR fleet to the mainland to store it and eventually sell it.
Hawaii has said it has ceded some of its ground support equipment to Mokulele Airlines, which serves Honolulu and Molokai and Lanai.
“We thank the Molokai and Lanai communities for their support of‘ Ohana by Hawaiian, ”Ingram said. “We will continue to explore opportunities to reconnect and reconnect the islands as a Hawaiian carrier.”
Earlier this month, Southern Airways, the parent company of Mokulele Airline, announced plans to bring Beechcraft 1900 aircraft to offer a weekly cabin-class service for passengers in Molokai and Lanai. Larger aircraft can carry up to 19 passengers.
Initial service plans provide for two round trips to Honolulu from Molokai and Lanai most days of the week. Tickets are expected to go on sale this summer, pending approval by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Stan Little, chairman and CEO of Southern Airways and Mokulele, said in a statement.
“This is a logical next step for our airline as we continue to bounce back from the COVID pandemic and show our commitment to the people of Hawaii.
It will be a proud day in the 27-year history of Mokulele when this plane has its inaugural flight this autumn.