Island Air to shut down after 37 years


Cash-strapped Island Air, Hawaii's second-largest inter-island carrier, has announced it will halt all service at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

"I want to thank Island Air for its decades of service to our communities", Gov. David Ige wrote in a statement.

"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".

Ticketed passengers on the airline's future flights have been told to contact their credit card company for refunds, while others have been told to file claims in bankruptcy court to get their money back.

Hawaiian Airlines announced they would offer ticketed passengers a seat on their flights on a standby basis.

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The airline's final flight will be from Kahului Airport to Honolulu International Airport on the night of Nov10, landing at 10:49 p.m. local time.

The airline was started in 1980 under the name Princeville Airways.

Hawaii Island Air, Island Air's parent company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection October 16 in an effort to continue operations following threats of legal action by the lessors of the airline's new 78-seat Bombardier Q-400 turboprops to repossess three aircraft.

The shutdown of the airline also marked the loss of jobs for Island Air's employees.

Island Air has been working with prospective employers around the state, the former airline said in an announcement. Faris said he was concerned about the cash situation and that without a cash infusion Island Air "can't go on for long whatever happens".

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Island Air was known for flying at lower-than-average altitudes, to give passengers better views of the Hawaiian scenery. Airlines such as Southwest Airlines, who just announced service to Hawaii, and Alaska Airlines could possibly fill the void.

It directed passengers to a toll-free number.

The impact on Southern Californians and other passengers from the USA mainland is expected to be minimal because Hawaiian Airlines operates the largest share of transpacific and inter-island flights.

Island Air, which began switching to the Q400 in January, has been under new ownership since February 2016 when Honolulu venture capitalist Jeffrey Au and other investors purchased two-thirds of the airline from billionaire Larry Ellison, who retained a one-third share.

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