Hawaiian Airline's unveiled a new look for its Lanai and Molokai service that's more than cosmetic.
Hawaiian stopped short of calling its new Ohana service a discount carrier but acknowledged that its price points will be attractive for local residents and tourists.
"Fares will be competitive as they always are. Very much an important part of our entire approach to this is to provide efficient, good and affordable air service," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's CEO.
Instead of the bigger Boeing jets it uses on its interisland flights, Hawaiian has acquired two, 48-seat ATR42 turboprop planes for the new service.
The company is also partnering with Idaho-based Empire Airlines, which will hire all of the workers and will fly the planes. As a start-up service, Ohana by Hawaiian will likely have a lower cost structure than other legacy carriers.
Hawaiian said the fare schedule and exact launch date have not yet been set. The company said it still requires regulatory approval for the new service.
It added that it could purchase up to four more turboprop aircraft to accommodate future expansion.
In many ways, the carrier is positioning its new service as a community-oriented, "People's Airline" for the Lanai and Molokai markets.
Hawaiian tapped Hilo artists Sig Zane and his son Kuhao to come up with aircraft's distinctive kapa design pattern.
"The name Ohana perfectly captures the idea behind this service and the role it will play in our community," Dunkerley said.
"This new service has always been about making it easier for friends and families throughout the island and from overseas to share time together."
The new brand also comes as the interisland market will see the entry of new, deep-pocketed competition.
Billionaire Larry Ellison is reportedly is acquiring an interest in Island Air, the state's third largest interisland carrier.
That investment comes as Ellison, America's third richest man, plans to spend tens of millions of dollars to revive Lanai's tourist market.
But Hawaiian said its new turboprop service was planned nearly a year ago -- or well before Ellison's reported interest in owning an interisland carrier.
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