In ‘heartbreaking’ decision, Hawaiian Airlines ends its ‘Ohana service

Published: May. 27, 2021 at 12:59 PM HST|Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 5:32 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Airlines announced Thursday it won’t restart its ‘Ohana by Hawaiian passenger service, which had been suspended in November because of the pandemic.

“This is a heartbreaking decision, particularly for those of us who were involved in launching the business in 2014,” said Peter Ingram, president and CEO at Hawaiian Airlines. “We took a hard look at the service and could not identify a way to restart and sustainably operate.”

Hawaiian said it would have incurred significant costs and faced numerous obstacles in restarting service with its current fleet. The soonest flights could have resumed was at the end of this year.

‘Ohana by Hawaiian flew from Honolulu to Molokai and Lanai, serving hard-to-serve communities. It was operated by Idaho-based Empire Airlines and employed 97 people.

Mokulele Airlines continues to serve those islands and said Thursday that it would expand service in the wake of Hawaiian’s announcement.

Also Thursday, Hawaiian said it would end its statewide ATR freighter cargo service.

The news comes as Hawaiian also struggles to bolster Neighbor Island demand.

Hawaiian Airlines Chief Operating Officer Jon Snook said the Neighbor Island quarantine rules are continuing to push down traffic.

Inter-island travelers must test negative for COVID or present a vaccination card to avoid quarantine.

“We think that the quarantine is no longer necessary,” Snook said.

“It was put in place back in the summer of last year when there were more than 300 cases last year in Honolulu. So protecting the Neighbor Islands at that point in time made sense. But it makes no sense in this moment in time.”

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