HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Makani Kai Air today launched its new Honolulu to Princeville service today, making it the first carrier in 22 years to provide regulary scheduled service between the two destinations.
Makani Kai will operate two daily flights — at $125 each way — but could expand the service if the demand is there.
“At one time during it’s heyday, somewhere around 44,000 people a year would travel directly from Princeville to Honolulu. There was a huge market back then," said Richard Schuman, Makani Kai’s owner.
With tourism booming, Kauai business leaders say the service is long overdue. They also say demand from local residents is also strong.
“People can go shopping in Honolulu, they need to go for dental appointments or medical appointments. It think it’s going to be great,” said Walter Bono, president of Aloha Hotels.
There are no frills on the 45-minute flight on the nine-seat Piper Chieftain but the views are breathtaking.
“It’s a beautiful flight coming in. You come in along the North Shore and the Kilauea Lighthouse and then you turn around in Hanalei Bay,” said Bono.
Princeville residents said flying to Honolulu used to be a huge hassle.
They had to first travel on Kauai’s congested roads for more than a hour just first to get to Lihue Airport.
“If you live on the island on the North Shore and you want to go to Lihue, passing through Kapaa at the wrong time of day is a disaster," said Ben Gillikin, president of the Hanalei Bay Rotary Club.