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Published on Friday, June 5, 2020

In order to survive Covid-19 crisis, Hawaii commuter airlines merge

Hawaii's two small commuter airlines are joining forces to get through the Covis-19 travel downturn.

Mokulele lAirlines and Makani Kai have announced a merger.

The airlines say it is the best way forward as both businesses are complimentary.

They have a similar fleet of aircraft and compete on routes.

"I think we are stronger together. We fly similar planes, similar routes, similar pricing, similar service. So we both feel we can offer better service especially to the smaller airports that don't get serviced by other airlines," said Richard Schuman, owner of Makani Kai Air.

Makani Ai also owns Magnum Helicopters which won't be part of the merger.

"We have got to be able to weather this storm and we can weather this storm so much better together and when we all come out on the other side, it will be a lot better product for the people of the smaller islands," said Mokulele CEO Stan Little.

The merged business will utilize Mokulele's distribution system for bookings and the combined business will take the Mokulele brand name.

It will also launch a brand new route linking Honolulu with Lanai.

The integration will take about four to five moths said Keith Sisson, chief marketing officer of Mokulele parent company Southern Airways.

"There's not an airline in the country that is making money right now. When you look at the situation with the interisland quarantine it's been extremely difficult," Sisson said.

Travel restrictions have severely impacted both airlines.

All interisland travel has been subject to a 14-day quarantine for several weeks, decimating travel demand but is being lifted from June 16.

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