Molokai will be losing Pacific Wings next month, one of only three airlines that offers scheduled flights here.
A report in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said that June 15 will be the last day of operations for the commuter airline in Hawaii. It currently flies nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravan 208B turboprop planes at smaller airports around the state, including Ho`olehua and Kalaupapa on Molokai, Hana and Kahului on Maui, Kona and Waimea on the Big Island and Honolulu on Oahu.
In late 2011, Pacific Wings fought the federal subsidy offered to airlines that fly to Kalaupapa. Pacific Wings had held the contract without subsidies since 2000, making them the only airline to serve the isolated peninsula. But after Pacific Wings drastically increased the cost of a one-way flight to $244 from Kalaupapa to topside Molokai, the complaints started. In November of 2011, the contract was awarded to Makani Kai Air Charters.
Molokai will add a third airline to complement Island Air and Go/Mokulele this summer. Hawaiian Airlines announced in October of 2012 that its new service, called ‘Ohana by Hawaiian, will bring a new turboprop service to Molokai. When it begins, daily service to Molokai and Lanai will be provided on 48-seat ATR42 turboprop aircrafts.
Founded in Nevada in the 1970s, Pacific Wings started offering flights in Hawaii in 1998 with headquarters based at the Kahului airport. Its parent company, Pacific Air Holdings, has since relocated its headquarters to Mesa, Arizona, and has slowly withdrawn from the Hawaii market during the past few years.