Island Air to cease operations after Friday

Island Air to cease operations after Friday

Island Air, the state's second-largest airline, said today its last day of service will be Friday after having exhausted all options to remain flying.

Reaching a hand out to the stranded employees, Hawaii Governor David Ige said in a statement: "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". "We will need to work through this day with our heads held high, knowing that we did all that we could do to provide an affordable alternative to interisland travel". With Hawaiian Airlines and Mokulele Airlines being the only two airlines left operating inter-island flights, there is a possibility for a new airline to fill the gap left by Island Air.

Island Air passengers with confirmed reservations to or from Honolulu, Kahului, Kona and Lihue can standby for a coach seat on Hawaiian Airlines.

The fare is available to Island Air customers holding tickets for flights between November 11 and November 17.

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 airline was started in 1980 under the name Princeville Airways.

The firm had been losing money every quarter for the past four years.

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Some of the current Island Air employees previously worked for Aloha, which had been in service for 61 years.

On Oct. 27, Island Air said in a court filing it was in discussions with multiple prospective investors to obtain about $6.5 million in financing.

Island Air says it will close operations as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday due to legal pressures imposed by its aircraft lessors.

Affected passengers have been told to make "alternative arrangements", but it's unclear whether they'll get immediate refunds.

Hawaii aviation historian Peter Forman said the airline made it harder on itself once it moved to larger aircraft.

It directed passengers to a toll-free number. The intra-Hawaiian airline also had a codeshare partnership with United Airlines, connecting passengers to the mainland or to other Pacific islands that United serves via its Guam hub. By 1995, it had expanded routes and taken on a new name: Island Air.

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