Island Air to discontinue Lanai flights at end of March

Island Air

Island Air announced Tuesday that it will discontinue service to Lanai.

The last flights to and from Lanai will take place on March 31.

“It was a difficult decision. However, as Island Air continues to restructure, we are taking a hard look at all of the destinations we serve and where our resources are best deployed,” said Les Murashige, CEO of Island Air.

All of the 11 Lanai-based Island Air staff will be offered the opportunity to transfer elsewhere within the company.

“We appreciate and thank all of our employees who have provided impeccable service and our customers who have supported Island Air over the years,” said Murashige.

The thought of Island Air saying goodbye to Lana’i for the last time  is something that took state representative Lynn Decoite by surprise, “First initial reaction very disappointed we’re losing Island Air out of the island. One of two carriers that services the people of Lanai.”

With just one airline left flying to and from Lana’i, residents will have even less options than before. Representative Decoite says she’s worried about prices going up, “Definitely I want to reach out to Hawaiian, and hopefully they can hold at the prices that they do have.”

This move also has residents wondering if Ohana by Hawaiian will start to schedule more flights to and from Lana’i.

Aviation expert Peter Forman weighed in: “You know on a destination like Lanai you’re probably not going to see more flights. You’re probably going to see the same number of flights unless they’re starting to fill up the airplanes because chances are there’s a lot of empty seats going to and from.”

Residents like Alberta DeJetley of Lanai also say this could have an affect on business on Lana’i.

“And after hearing the news that they were closing I got on the telephone and called several other business people in the community and we’re all to the core completely shocked that we are losing Island Air and their services to the island. It’s terrible,”shared DeJetley.

Representative Decoite says it’s just another chapter for her constituents:

“The island is a simple island. It’s unique in character and it’s learned to make do, but with island air being pulled out I think it’s too much of making do.”

As for those with reservations, if you booked a flight after April 1, you will receive a full refund or be able to transfer to another airline.

For more information or inquiries, contact Island Air at (800) 388-1105.

Rep. Lynn DeCoite, D, Lanai, released the following statement in response:

“I am very disappointed about Island Air’s announcement that they will be ending services to Lana’i at the end of the month. I am concerned for my constituents, the residents of Lana’i, who are already slighted by many other services that the residents of other islands don’t have to worry about. I am concerned that this leaves only one other airline offering flights and am worried about the effect this will have on ticket pricing and the limited fight schedules.

Lana’i residents need to be able to travel for doctors’ appointments, business meetings, school and athletic functions and just to shop for basic household essentials. They also count on air travel for services coming in to the island. The limited flights already have adverse effects on the community- I am worried that losing more flight services will be an undue burden on the residents who have been struggling to maintain their community.

As air schedule is now, If I need to travel to Lana’i for meeting with my constituents I have very few flight options from HNL to LNY where I may have to layover in Maui before reaching HNL on the return trip. This limits my ability to speak face to face with members of my district, see their needs first hand and fully understand their concerns. Lana’i is a very unique community with unique concerns and issues, some that you actually have to see in person, before you can fully understand the issue or the community need. Losing flight services limits their ability to advocate for themselves and have access to their elected officials at all levels of government.

I have spoken with representatives from Island Air and I understand their business concerns and their need to run a profitable business.

I hope that the one remaining airline, Ohana by Hawaiian, will step up and offer more flights in and out of Lana’i and use this as an opportunity to expand services for the Lana’i community and its visitors.”

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