Island Air's newest plane goes into service today

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Island Air's newest and largest turboprop has been approved for use by the FAA and enters revenue service today.

The ATR 72 can seat more than 70 passengers, significantly improving Island Air's operational efficiency. It's made by a French-Italian aircraft manufacturer, with most of its assembly done at the Airbus factory in Toulouse.

The announcement of FAA approval was made Tuesday at the same time that Island Air executives confirmed finalization of the sale of the company to Lawrence Investments, owned by Larry Ellison.

The executives said the company intended to keep all staff and expand operations under its new ownership. Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corp., acquired most of the island of Lanai last summer. Island Air's major markets are Lanai, Molokai and Kapalua, on the west side of Maui.

Revenue service for the ATR turboprop was scheduled to begin Wednesday afternoon. Island Air also flies two smaller Dash-8 turboprops.

Hawaiian Airlines recently announced creation of a subsidiary, called Ohana, to serve Lanai and Molokai, also using ATR turboprops.

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