Only three weeks ago after the people of Molokai learned that they would lose air service from Pacific Wings, another airlines has announced it will begin service to the airport in Ho’olehua.
Before Pacific Wings has its last flight out of Molokai on June 15, Makani Kai Air will have already begun its five daily round-trip flights. The airline announced it will begin its service between Honolulu and Molokai Airport Saturday, June 8.
The airline currently offers twice daily service between Honolulu and Kalaupapa six days a week and one round trip on Sundays. It began Kalaupapa service in January of 2012 after the Federal Department of Transportation awarded Makani Kai the Essential Air Service contract for Kalaupapa in December of 2011.
Pacific Wings lost the federal contract to serve the Kalaupapa settlement after complaints about unfair and exorbitant pricing and inconsistent service. Using federal subsidies, Makani Air offers flights to Kalaupapa at less than half the price of the almost $500 round-trip fares Pacific Wings used to charge.
“We are encouraged by the response from the Molokai community,” said Richard Schuman, president of Makani Kai Air. “Since we began our service to Kalaupapa two years ago, there has been a tremendous amount of support for Makani Kai. Our passengers enjoy the convenience and reliability we offer. Time was, people used to enjoy air travel. We want to bring that back.”
Makani Kai Air Charters was established by Schuman Aviation Company, Ltd. in 2009. The parent company also operates Makani Kai Helicopters.
The aviation company uses two Cessna Grand Caravan turbine aircraft, two Piper Chieftain twin-engine airplanes, two Eurocopter AS-350 A-Stars, and an MD500.
Schuman Aviation Company, Ltd. is the only company of its type in the U.S. accredited by the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations. Makani Kai is also an FAA certified 145 Repair Station.