Republic Airlines injected another $2.5 million into its partnership with Hawaii’s Mokulele Airlines on May 1 and this month plans to send a fourth Embraer E170 to the islands as it stages a more serious effort to raise its profile in the market. This past March Republic demoted former Mokulele CEO Bill Boyer to head of sales and marketing and installed its own vice president for strategic alliances, Scott Durgin, as interim CEO.
Hawaii’s Island Air will fly de Havilland Dash 8s between Kahului, Maui, Lihue, Kauai and Hilo as Go!Express under the terms of a tentative code-share deal it signed with Mesa Air Group in late February.
Mesa Air Group’s latest code-share partner, Kona, Hawaii-based Mokulele Airlines, flew its first scheduled flight as go!Express last month with a new nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravan. On April 16 Mokulele began flying 12 times a day between Kona and Kahului, Kahului and Kapalua, and Kapalua and Honolulu for Mesa’s go! unit, which continues to serve five Hawaiian destinations with Bombardier CRJ200s.
Honolulu-based de Havilland Dash 8 operator Island Air suffered the first serious casualty of Mesa Air Group’s incursion into Hawaii last month when CEO Rob Mauraucher announced he planned to furlough or lay off 65 full-time employees, remove two aircraft from service and eliminate five of the regional airline’s 17 routes.
Mesa Air Group has now taken aim at a less visible target within the inter-island Hawaiian market, much to the dismay of incumbent turboprop stalwarts Island Air and Pacific Wings. By agreeing to enter a new code-share deal last month with Kona-based Mokulele Airlines, Mesa’s go!
Jonathan Ornstein’s mission to sink at least one of Hawaii’s two major airlines officially begins June 9, when Mesa Air Group’s new Go! subsidiary starts flying 16 daily round trips with three Bombardier CRJ200s from Honolulu to Kona, Kahului in Maui and Kauai for $39 each way. On June 30, as it adds service from Honolulu to Hilo, it plans to nearly double service to 31 round trips a day and increase the CRJ fleet to five.