“It is with a heavy heart that I must inform all of you that tomorrow, Friday, the 10th of November, will be the last day for Island Air to be in service,” CEO David Uchiyama said in an email today to employees.
Island Air is the state’s second-largest airline.
“We have exhausted all options that would allow us to continue, and we have not been able to solidify any of those option(s) within the time frame needed,” Uchiyama added.
“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 for our islands.”
Island Air, which has about 400 employees, filed for bankruptcy protection on October 16 after its aircraft lessor, Ireland-based Elix Assets 8 Ltd., attempted to repossess the company’s 3 remaining Q400 aircraft for nonpayment.
The airline, which flew interisland routes for 37 years, had lost money every quarter for the past 4-1/2 years.
George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement from Island Air.
“The news of Island Air ceasing flight operations is truly unfortunate, especially for the 400 employees whose families depended on the airline for their livelihood. With Hawaii’s strong economy, we are hopeful they will find new opportunities to re-start their careers in travel and other industries locally.
“Island Air’s service was appreciated by residents and visitors needing to travel between the islands. We thank the airline and its employees for the quality, reliable service they provided to interisland travelers during their 37 years of business.”
Island Air said all passengers must make alternative arrangements for interisland transportation. The airline said in a message on its website that passengers need to contact their credit card company for inquiries on refunds. It said for any questions or concerns to call 1-800-652-6541.
Hawaiian Airlines said it will honor Island Air tickets for the next week on a standby basis.
“Hawaiian Airlines is working quickly to provide flight relief for travelers who have been displaced by the shutdown of Island Air operations,” Hawaiian said in a news release. “Starting November 11 through 17, Island Air guests holding a confirmed reservation to/from/via Honolulu, Oahu (HNL); Kahului, Maui (OGG); Kona, Hawaii Island (KOA); and Lihue, Kauai (LIH) can standby for Coach Class seating on Hawaiian’s regularly scheduled flights between the same origin and destination cities on the ticketed day of departure.”