HONOLULU (KHON2) — Effective Nov. 1, Hawaiian Airlines will temporarily suspend ‘Ohana by Hawaiian passenger flights and cargo-only services.
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‘Ohana by Hawaiian was launched in 2014. The smaller plane added more options for passengers traveling between Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and West Maui.
On Friday, the company reported that the flights between Honolulu, Molokai and Lanai will be suspended. The carrier suspended service between Honolulu and Kapalua in West Maui back in March.
Representative Lynn Decoite said that ‘Ohana by Hawaiian was the only option for wheelchair-bound residents and for others who needed physical assistance to travel off of the island.
“It is a health issue for both Molokai and Lanai,” said Rep. Decoite. “We cannot leave this on the side burner. This has to be addressed so that we could give them accessibility.”
She said that she’s speaking with the governor’s office about alternative options.
Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram said that the carrier could not avoid the suspension, citing the economic challenges that came with the pandemic.
The company said that the state’s quarantine restrictions triggered a labor provision in the company’s pilot contract, which affected Hawaiian Airline’s ability to provide ‘Ohana by Hawaiian service.
“The provision, which is common in the U.S. airline industry, prevents Hawaiian from offering ‘Ohana by Hawaiian flights – which are operated with turboprop aircraft by Empire Airlines as a third-party feeder carrier – when interisland Boeing 717 and Airbus A321neo jet flights operated by Hawaiian’s pilots are severely reduced,” the company wrote.
The company says that it’ll be able to resume the service, but only if there’s a significant recovery in inter-island travel.
But the company said, “That is unlikely to occur anytime soon.”
Hawaiian said that it’s notifying and providing refunds to guests affected by the suspension. Cargo customers will be offered refunds or, depending on the shipment, the option to have their products transported between the islands with Hawaiian’s Boeing 717 and A321neo aircraft.
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