Island Air sale gets green light from U.S. Department of Transportation

Island Air

It’s official. Island Air has new owners.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved previously announced plans for Ohana Airlines Holdings to sell a controlling interest in the airline to PaCap Aviation Finance and Malama Investments, two investment companies managed by local investment firm, PacifiCap.

The government’s approval paves the way for the recapitalization needed to fuel Island Air’s plans to acquire additional aircraft and expand interisland service, and for a new local management team to guide its future growth and expansion.

OAH, which is owned by Larry Ellison, will retain a non-controlling interest in Island Air and will continue to partner with the new local owners as they move forward with a local management team tapped to oversee the airline’s expansion plans.

Les Murashige takes over as Island Air’s president and CEO. He previously served as the airline’s president from 2012 to 2013, and has been working on the transition team.

“Having grown up on Kauai and lived in Hawaii all my life, I have a great appreciation for the importance of having more access and options for interisland travel,” said Murashige. “It’s an honor to return to the helm of this storied airline, and I look forward to working together with our new owners, our board and the terrific men and women of Island Air to ensure we remain Hawaii’s local alternative for interisland travel.”

On Jan. 21, Island Air announced plans to restore service to Lihue Airport with six daily round-trip flights to Honolulu, effective March 15.

“Our recent announcement to return to Kauai and restore service and create jobs at Lihue Airport is an indication of the great things we have in store for our airline and for the people of Hawaii,” said PacifiCap founder and Managing Director Jeffrey Au.

David Uchiyama is the incoming chief commercial officer, and Rob Mauracher is the new chief operating officer.

Meanwhile Dave Pflieger, who joined Island Air as CEO in 2014 and presided over the airline’s successful restructuring and turnaround efforts, is leaving the airline to work directly for Ellison.

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