HONOLULU(KHON2) — Airlines are still dealing with supply chain issues, a problem that first came to light in the height of the pandemic.
From major companies like Hawaiian Airlines down to island hoppers like Mokulele Airlines, problems getting much needed parts continue to plague airlines according to Mokuele Airlines Chief of Staff Keith Sisson.
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“We actually were very worried about oil filters at one time. You know, there were oil filters going on eBay for $400 A piece,” Sisson explained. “But, it’s all parts of the aircraft. I mean, everything from tires to oil.”
A spokesperson for Hawaii Airlines said: “Hawaiian Airlines is also continuing to experience supply chain issues, but it hasn’t reached the point where it’s caused any disruptions in their daily flight schedule.”
That’s not the case for Mokulele Airlines that has been overwhelmed by flight delays.
According to Sisson, Mokulele Airlines operates about 120 daily departures; and he said the delays started increasing in October.
“Really the last two months we’ve seen the results of a supply chain shortage affect our operation,” Sisson said.
Jasmine Kamisugi arrived in Honolulu with her family after a short flight from Molokai. She said they fly from Molokai to Oahu frequently.
“These past couple of months its been pretty bad. One time we were delayed maybe five hours,” said Kamisugi.
Roury Hanaoka, Molokai resident Roury Hanaoka said he’s noticed delays are happening a lot more frequently as well.
“I think the worse delay was about four hours I was stuck over here [Honolulu] trying to fly back to Molokai with my kids,” Hanaoka explained. “Our flight was, like, and I think we left, like, 11 or something to fly back.”
Sisson said relief is on the way and things should improve soon with the arrival of two new aircraft.
“The Cessna Grand Caravan, a nine seat aircraft, should be here in about two weeks. The other aircraft, the the Saab 340 aircraft, that’s a 28 seat aircraft, is already on island. It’s in Honolulu.”
The Saab is scheduled to tentatively start flying Jan. 1, according to Sisson.
Why not sooner?
“Again, it’s a supply chain backlog of getting parts and equipment in to get the aircraft ready to operate,” Sisson explained.
He said Mokulele does send out text or email messages when they know of a delay ahead of time, but anyone who’s flight is booked by their insurance company or a separate travel site may not get the message.
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He apologized for any inconvenience and explained when delays are happening in real time they try to get complete and accurate information before they relay it to customers.