Mokulele's inaugural flight to Kahului takes off amid economic crisis

Kalena Sawa
Kalena Sawa

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

KAHULUI (KHNL) - Hawaii's Mokulele Airlines is determined to soar past the industry's economic crisis.

The inter-island carrier has expanded service to Maui, and on Monday, celebrated the inaugural flight.

Hope hangs on the wings of Mokulele Airlines.

In the midst of turbulent times, employees carry an air of optimism, as they celebrate Mokulele's inaugural flight from Honolulu, to Kahului, Maui.

"Our son used to fly for Aloha and he flies for Mokulele now and it's just a wonderful feeling to have another airline here so local people can fly," said Luika Lum, a passenger.

Like the Lum family, many say this is the beginning of what appeared, only 10 months ago, to be the end.

Many of those left jobless after Aloha Airlines went bankrupt, find a silver lining in Mokulele's expansion.

The company says 90% of its employees are former Aloha workers.

"I get to see a lot of the Aloha people. A lot of flight attendants and pilots were hired by Hawaiian and they pass by, we get to see them. A lot of our own employees are with Mokulele so it's like being at home again," said Kalena Sawa, a former Aloha Airlines employee of 41 years, now a Mokulele employee.

And on this inaugural flight, as passengers disembark a new jet, and step into a new chapter of this airline, even in an economic crisis, the Aloha spirit appears to stand strong.

"We're going to support them 110%," said passenger Randall Lum, "Wherever we go, this is the only way we're going to fly now."

Mokulele Airlines also plans to launch jet service to Hilo. The inaugural flight is set for early spring of this year.