MIAMI – Tonight, Hawaiian Airlines (HA) announced it will be temporarily suspending ‘Ohana by Hawaiian (CFS) cargo and passenger operations effective November 1. 

Passenger services from Honolulu and Moloka‘i (MKK) and Lāna‘i (LNY) will be suspended, and cargo-only service between the Hawaiian islands will be suspended. CFS is a subsidiary of HA. The airline is operated under contract by Empire Airlines (EM) with the call sign EMPIRE and connects the small islands of Hawaii with ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft. 

The HA press release states that while the suspension is temporary, resumption of services is “unlikely to occur anytime soon”. The airline has attributed the suspension to the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand has also been low due to the travel restrictions put in place by the State of Hawaii. 

Hawaiian Airlines. Photo: Luca Flores

Navigating a Challenging Period


The restrictions, according to the airline, triggered a labor provision within the contracts of Pilots. This provision prevents the airline from operating third-party feeder flights by EM when HA jobs for Pilots operating Boeing 717 and Airbus A321 aircraft are significantly reduced.

Peter Ingram, president and CEO at HA said, “It is an honor to provide essential transportation for the people of Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i and West Maui, and more recently all-cargo service within our state.”

He continued, “While we are disappointed at being unable to avoid the service suspension, this is a difficult situation for both Hawaiian and Empire Airlines as we navigate an incredibly challenging period, and we all remain committed to returning flights to communities that rely on ‘Ohana by Hawaiian.”

Ohana by Hawaiian ATR 42. Photo: Wiki Commons

Who Operates ‘Ohana by Hawaiian?


‘Ohana by Hawaiian began operations in the spring of 2014 to better connect the many Hawaiian islands. According to planespotters.net, EM operates eight aircraft for HA.

Of those eight aircraft, four are ATR 42, and four are ATR 72 (cargo only); the first four are owned by EM while the latter four are owned by HA, which, on October 2, resumed service to Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport (LAS) with a once-daily Airbus A321neo service.


Featured image: Ohana by Hawaiian ATR 42-500 on finals at Kahului Airport. photo: Wiki Commons