“Ohana By Hawaiian” Ceases Operations

“Ohana By Hawaiian” Ceases Operations

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Hawaiian Airlines will be discontinuing its regional subsidiary, Ohana by Hawaiian, which means the airline will be forced to stop flying to some destinations.

Hawaiian Airlines ends regional subsidiary

Ohana by Hawaiian, which launched in 2014, was Hawaiian Airlines’ regional subsidiary. The airline operated a fleet of seven ATR turboprop aircraft — this included four cargo ATR-72s and three passenger ATR-42s.

Ohana by Hawaiian suspended operations during the pandemic for a couple of reasons:

  • Due to a severe decline in demand between neighboring islands due to the pandemic
  • Due to state and county quarantine measures that triggered a labor provision

Well, today it has been announced that Ohana by Hawaiian will permanently cease operations:

  • This decision came after an in-depth assessment of the overall operation and long-term viability of the regional carrier
  • Restarting Ohana by Hawaiian would have incurred significant costs and faced numerous obstacles with the current fleet
  • The soonest that service could have restarted would be the end of the year
  • The Ohana by Hawaiian aircraft will be flown to the mainland, where they’ll be stored and hopefully sold
  • While Ohana by Hawaiian had Hawaiian Airlines branding, flights were actually operated by Idaho-based Empire Airlines as a third-party feeder carrier; at its peak the company had 82 pilots, flight attendants, and maintenance personnel in Hawaii, and unfortunately they’ll be losing their jobs

As Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram describes this decision:

“This is a heartbreaking decision, particularly for those of us who were involved in launching the business in 2014. We took a hard look at the service and could not identify a way to restart and sustainably operate.”

Ohana by Hawaiian won’t resume operations

What are the practical implications of this?

Hawaiian Airlines flies Boeing 717s on inter-island Hawaii routes, and nothing will be changing there.

Hawaiian Airlines uses 717s for its inter-island routes

However, there are some routes that were only served by smaller aircraft, given runway limitations and demand. Specifically, flights from Honolulu to both Lanai and Molokai were served exclusively by these planes.


Routes Hawaiian Airlines will drop due to Ohana by Hawaiian being cut

During the pandemic, the Four Seasons Lanai has had to step in to get passengers to the hotel. The hotel has included roundtrip transfers on Lanai Air between Honolulu and Lanai with room rates, given that it’s one of the only practical ways guests could get to the resort.

The Four Seasons has offered transfers on Lanai Air

Regional carrier Mokulele Airlines is expected to take over some of these routes. The airline currently flies Cessna 208 aircraft, but is expected to take delivery of some Beechcraft 1900D aircraft to use on flights out of Honolulu.

Mokulele Airlines will start flying Beechcraft 1900Ds

Bottom line

Ohana by Hawaiian suspended operations during the pandemic, and it has now been revealed that the airline will be ceasing operations permanently. Apparently the pandemic has caused Hawaiian Airlines to crunch the numbers on this operation, and decide this is no longer viable.

While Hawaiian Airlines’ Boeing 717s can operate most inter-island routes, there are some exceptions, like Honolulu to Lanai. For those routes it’s expected that Mokulele Airlines may step in and add service with larger aircraft.

What do you make of Ohana by Hawaiian discontinuing operations? 

Conversations (10)
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  1. Sco

    "The Ohana by Hawaiian aircraft will be flown to the mainland..."

    Maybe a dumb question, but how does this work? I'm assuming they don't have the range to make the flight themselves

  2. K.M.

    I flew in the Cessna from O'ahu to molokai and back. That was definitely the smallest plane I've ever flown in but it was fine for the short flights. Nice to see that mokulele will get bigger planes.

  3. Max

    @Sco
    If the plane is completely empty and you are flexible to wait a few days for good wind conditions it's not a problem at all.
    Additionally they can add some auxiliary fuel tanks as well.

  4. Ted

    I’m pretty sure Four Seasons closed their lounge at HNL. Now from my understanding they have their customers take PC12s from the general avation terminal on Lanai Air. Since they use the GA terminal now they don’t have the lounge.

    https://www.lanaiair.com/

  5. Arnab

    These ATRs have ~1000 mile range with full load. I am sure that can be extended 2-3 fold on an empty plane with only fuel and two pilots on it. Not sure if they can add auxiliary fuel tanks on them temporarily.
    Interesting read on ferry flying -

    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34484972

  6. Bgriff

    Hawaiian's service to West Maui airport was also dependent on the ATR42s.

  7. Eskimo

    @Sco

    LOL, Maybe you should also ask how did they got them here in the first place. ;)

    Adding to what @Max said, extra fuel tank is an easy mod. Sometimes (but probably not the case here) they remove the seats and ship them separately.
    What I'm not sure is do they need special pilots/certifications to operate these flights.

  8. Pete

    @Eskimo - the pilots aren't an issue. Planning the ferry flight is something that any airline's flight planning department can do easily. They'll need to obtain a ferry permit from the FAA to gut the seats and install auxiliary tanks to make the trip to the mainland. Obtaining it is fairly easy and everyday general aviation pilots unassociated with a business or airline do it all the time.

  9. derek

    https://www.airmodsflightcenter.com/ferry-tank-installations

    At the end of the article is a description of adding ferry tanks to an ATR 42.

    excerpt:
    In January 2011, a major commercial carrier operating out of an island in the Western Pacific Ocean contracted Air-Mods to install the Turtle-Pac ferry tank in an ATR-42. The purpose was to allow the airplane to fly the long trans-Pacific legs between the Western Pacific Ocean, Hawaii, and California so the airplane could undergo scheduled...

    https://www.airmodsflightcenter.com/ferry-tank-installations

    At the end of the article is a description of adding ferry tanks to an ATR 42.

    excerpt:
    In January 2011, a major commercial carrier operating out of an island in the Western Pacific Ocean contracted Air-Mods to install the Turtle-Pac ferry tank in an ATR-42. The purpose was to allow the airplane to fly the long trans-Pacific legs between the Western Pacific Ocean, Hawaii, and California so the airplane could undergo scheduled service here in the mainland U.S. Air-Mods engineered the installation to comply with the Federal Aviation Regulations and the ATR design requirements.

    One of the challenges related to the fuel line that had to pass from inside the cabin out to the wing fuel tank. Since there were no available openings from the cabin to the wing root, Air-Mods engineered a panel that would temporarily replace a cabin window to accommodate the fuel line. The challenge was to do this without disrupting the fuselage aerodynamics and also to maintain the envelope pressurization.

  10. Island Miler

    FYI, the Beech 1900's will not operate as Mokulele flights. Parent company Southern Airways will operate them under their own brand to "differentiate" the service.

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Island Miler

FYI, the Beech 1900's will not operate as Mokulele flights. Parent company Southern Airways will operate them under their own brand to "differentiate" the service.

derek

https://www.airmodsflightcenter.com/ferry-tank-installations At the end of the article is a description of adding ferry tanks to an ATR 42. excerpt: In January 2011, a major commercial carrier operating out of an island in the Western Pacific Ocean contracted Air-Mods to install the Turtle-Pac ferry tank in an ATR-42. The purpose was to allow the airplane to fly the long trans-Pacific legs between the Western Pacific Ocean, Hawaii, and California so the airplane could undergo scheduled service here in the mainland U.S. Air-Mods engineered the installation to comply with the Federal Aviation Regulations and the ATR design requirements. One of the challenges related to the fuel line that had to pass from inside the cabin out to the wing fuel tank. Since there were no available openings from the cabin to the wing root, Air-Mods engineered a panel that would temporarily replace a cabin window to accommodate the fuel line. The challenge was to do this without disrupting the fuselage aerodynamics and also to maintain the envelope pressurization.

Pete

@Eskimo - the pilots aren't an issue. Planning the ferry flight is something that any airline's flight planning department can do easily. They'll need to obtain a ferry permit from the FAA to gut the seats and install auxiliary tanks to make the trip to the mainland. Obtaining it is fairly easy and everyday general aviation pilots unassociated with a business or airline do it all the time.

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