Mokulele & go! Airlines merge

Scott Durgin (l) Paul Skellon (r)
Scott Durgin (l) Paul Skellon (r)

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL)- Two struggling inter-island air carriers join forces to overcome poor passenger numbers. On Tuesday, October 13th, Mokulele Airlines announced a joint venture with Mesa Air Group, operator of go! Airlines. Company spokesmen say the move brings together the best of the two brands. There's no name change involved, but the companies will combine logos for the new look. However, there's nothing definite on the radar for the nearly 500 employees involved in the deal.

The landscape of inter-island travel is about to change.

"There's a strong viable low fare airline in the market an an alternative to the big guy on the block," said go! Vice President Paul Skellon.

The "big guy" being Hawaiian Airlines. A spokesman there says "Hawaiian remains focused on its own operations and offering customers the most competitive service and fares in Hawaii."

Under the deal, passengers will still book tickets on both airlines but will board newly-branded gates and jets. With any merge, comes the possibility of consolidating employees.

"Can both of you guarantee no layoffs?," asked KHNL/KFVE's Zahid Arab.

"I can guarantee that I feel very strongly that we're going to be able to protect many if not all of the employees," said Mokulele Chief Executive Officer Scott Durgin.

"There are no planned layoffs at this stage," said Skellon.

"We did have a meeting but we're not allowed to give out information yet," said a Mokulele Airlines employee.

Workers can't say much on camera, but sources claim Mokulele is meeting with employees, notifying them of the company's shutdown by the end of October. They say they were asked not to talk to the press, so we asked their CEO.

"I have absolutely not been meeting with employees telling them we are shutting down at the end of the month, it's quite the contrary," said Durgin.

Through the merger, travelers are expected to land cheaper deals, but nervous talk of how it impacts each company's employees is now just starting to take-off.

Starting Thursday, October 15th, Mokulele will make the switch to the airport's commuter terminal, where both airlines will operate out of. Mokulele says it plans to contact passengers about changes related to the merger.