MIAMI – Citing inter-island pandemic-related travel restrictions, Hawaiian Airlines (HA) has shut down its ‘Ohana by Hawaiian turboprop passenger service between Honolulu (HNL) and the islands of Molokai and Lanai.

Freighter service with ATR 72 aircraft was suspended in November 2020 and passenger service with ATR 42 aircraft was halted Jan. 14. Now there are no plans to return the feeder flights.

‘Ohana by Hawaiian turboprop. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

“A Heartbreaking Decision”

In a news release, HA said it “decided to permanently end service following an in-depth assessment of the overall operation and its long-term viability.”

The carrier said the soonest flights could have resumed was at the end of this year.

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

‘Ohana by Hawaiian turboprop. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

Flights Were Operated by Empire Airlines

‘Ohana by Hawaiian was operated by Idaho-based Empire Airlines (EM). At its peak Empire employed 82 pilots, flight attendants and maintenance personnel in Hawaii as well as 15 at its home base in Idaho to support the Hawaiian service.

Hawaiian has begun moving its ATR fleet to the U.S. mainland for storage and eventual sale.

The company lent some of its ground support equipment to Mokulele Airlines, which is providing service between Honolulu and Molokai (MKK) and Lanai (LNY).

Empire maintains a sizable fleet of ATR 42s and 72 and Caravan 208s on behalf of FedEx Express throughout the western United States.

Hawaiian launched ‘Ohana by Hawaiian flights in the spring of 2014, followed by all-cargo service in the summer of 2018. It continues to provide mainline jet service to larger islands from its hub at HNL.

Featured image: ‘Ohana by Hawaiian turboprop. Credits: Brandon Farris/Airways