HONOLULU (KHNL) - The newest addition to boost inter-island flight sales is opening doors for both passengers and employees in the airline industry
Mokulele Airlines announces the addition of up to four more flights through a partnership with Indianapolis-based Republic Airways.
It will offer service to Honolulu, Kona and Lihue starting next month.
About six month's ago, news of Aloha Airlines shutting down its service hit the area hard, displacing almost 2,000 employees. The announcement is about more than a few extra flights, for about half of Mokulele's new employees, it's a second chance.
Mokulele Airlines announced the addition of four 70-seater jets, but among the excitement, the company's president and CEO's gets emotional as he struggles to get through his speech.
"I'm really sorry I just had an emotional talk with Aloha Airlines over there," said President & CEO Bill Boyer.
Taking the spotlight in the room, a group of former Aloha Airlines flight attendants who've just landed jobs with Mokulele. About half of of the company's 400 new positions are being filled with displaced employees from Aloha.
"Even though its been six months I still feel the Aloha in my heart, it's the chance to be with family again," said new employee Kacy Nakama-Kushiyama.
"When Aloha Airlines left the market, it left a big hole," said Boyer.
Mokulele will use occupy Aloha's counters, lounges, gates, and the same local company that designed its uniforms. It'll build a brand new 1,800 stall parking garage in December to accommodate passengers.
"It's just an exciting time with Mokulele coming in and I know we are going to do our darnest and best to make this work," said new employee Kalena Ewa.
"It's rewarding and such a great sense that we can share that with this man who believes in his employees," said new employee Roxanne Onuma.
For passengers, it's being called a convenient way to travel inter-island with competitive pricing. While Mokulele's new jets will only replace a third of Aloha's former fleet.