Island Air, serving Hawaii Island, Kauai, Maui and Oahu, shuts down

An view of Waikiki and the Diamond Head crater seen from an Island Air plane.
(Island Air)

Island Air, the airline whose service linked four Hawaiian islands, will shut down as of midnight Friday, the company announced late Thursday.

The carrier served Hawaii Island, Kauai, Maui and Oahu.

Passengers with reservations on Island Air beyond Friday “must make alternative arrangements for inter-island transportation,” Island Air said in a news release.

No alternative arrangements were offered.


“For inquiries on refunds,” the airline’s website said, “please contact your credit card company.”

It directed passengers to a toll-free number. A recording Thursday evening said, “Your call is being forwarded to a Shoretel voicemail system. Ext. 8099 is not available. Thank you for calling. If you know the extension of the person you want to reach, you may dial it now.”

Airline officials blamed the shutdown on those who own and lease five new aircraft.

Island Air announced in early September that it was adding new Bombardier Q400 turboprops, but last month, in a dispute with those lessors, Island Air filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The impact on Southern Californians and other passengers from the U.S. mainland is expected to be minimal because Hawaiian Airlines operates the largest share of transpacific and inter-island flights. Hawaiian Airlines has 200 flights a day, compared with Island Air’s 200 a week.

Island Air’s demise could be a plus for Southwest Airlines, which last month announced plans to begin flying to Hawaii, most likely in 2019.

On Wednesday, before Island Air’s shutdown announcement, Bloomberg reported that inter-island flights are something that could prove lucrative for Southwest.

“Southwest Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly said last month that island-hopping flights are something it’s ‘obviously’ considering,” Bloomberg wrote. “They’re attractive in terms of year-round demand, easy weather, and steady prices.”




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