Island Air to Discontinue Service on Nov. 11November 9, 2017, 4:45 PM HST (Updated November 9, 2017, 9:02 PM)
Hawaii Island Air (Island Air) announced on Thursday, Nov. 9, that it will be closing operations as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.
As a result of this announcement, all Island Air passengers must make alternative arrangements for interisland transportation, effective this Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.
Hawaiian Airlines is working quickly to provide flight relief for travelers who have been displaced by the shutdown of Island Air operations. Starting Nov. 11 through 17, Island Air guests holding a confirmed reservation to/from/via Honolulu, O‘ahu (HNL); Kahului, Maui (OGG); Kona, Hawai‘i Island (KOA); and Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i (LIH); can standby for Coach Class seating on Hawaiian’s regularly scheduled flights between the same origin and destination cities on the ticketed day of departure.
Earlier this month, Island Air was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (see link below) in an effort to continue operations following threats of legal action by the lessors of Island Air’s aircraft to ground and repossess the company’s fleet.
Island Air was unable to locate a new investor or lender to provide funding to support airline flight operations and a successful reorganization.
One of the difficulties of attracting new investors was the aggressive legal attacks by Lessors Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, N.A. and Elix 8 Ltd. Although Lessors’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order was denied by Judge Robert Faris of the District of Hawai‘i Bankruptcy Court on Friday, November 3, Lessors continued to engage in multi-directional legal attacks which Island Air could no longer combat without additional financing. The aircraft lessors were seeking termination of all leases and immediate repossession of all aircraft.
“Island Air has taken every measure possible to avoid this tremendous hardship to its passengers,” said David Uchiyama, Island Air president and CEO. “Island Air appreciates the loyalty and support its customers, management, employees, and vendors have shown the airline, especially during the last few weeks of this bankruptcy process. Island Air is proud of its 37-year history of service to the State of Hawai‘i.
“Island Air’s service was appreciated by residents and visitors needing to travel between the islands,” said Uchiyama. “We thank the airline and its employees for the quality, reliable service they provided to interisland travelers during their 37 years of business.”
“The news of Island Air ceasing flight operations is truly unfortunate, especially for the 400 employees whose families depended on the airline for their livelihood,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “With Hawai‘i’s strong economy, we are hopeful they will find new opportunities to re-start their careers in travel and other industries locally.
“Hawai‘i has enjoyed the Island Air service which has delivered residents and visitors across the state for the past 37 years,” said Ross Higashi, Hawai‘i Department of Transportation deputy director, Airports Division. “We were notified today that the airline will make its last scheduled flight tomorrow night. HDOT will work with Island Air on the logistics of ceasing its operations at Hawaii’s airports.”
“I want to thank Island Air for its decades of service to our communities,” said Gov. David Ige. “For 37 years the company and its employees have played a big role in connecting island families and supporting our business community. The closure will have a tremendous effect on 400 employees and their families, and the state will be working with Island Air to help the employees apply for unemployment insurance and provide assistance with job searches and training opportunities.”