Hawaiian carrier Island Air says it plans to use the aircraft it has ordered for fleet expansion rather than replacement.
The airline – owned by Oracle founder Larry Ellison – has placed orders for two Q400s with options for another four (see previous story page ). These will add to its existing fleet of five, Island Air CEO Paul Casey says in a statement supplied to Aviation Week.
Casey says the two Q400s are scheduled to be delivered in November and December, and “will allow us to explore new opportunities including increasing service to [the islands of] Maui, Kauai and Lanai.” These are the routes Island Air currently serves from its Honolulu base. Island Air plans to configure its Q400s with 71 seats in two classes.
Island Air is one of a handful of smaller carriers that operate on Hawaii’s interisland routes. This market is dominated by, which flies to other islands from Honolulu using a fleet of 717s. Hawaiian last month began service to Lanai and Molokai with a new turboprop subsidiary it established.
The interisland market is currently going through something of a shake-up. As well as the launch of Hawaiian Airlines’ new turboprop subsidiary, Mesa Air Group announced plans to pull its low-cost subsidiary Go! from the Hawaii market effective April 1. Island Air planned to cancel its flights to Molokai on April 1, leaving it with three routes from Honolulu.
Island Air was purchased by a company owned by Ellison in February 2013. Ellison also owns most of the island of Lanai.