Island Air

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For the Cayman Islands airline, see Island Air (Cayman Islands). For the air shuttle between Nantucket and mainland Cape Cod, see Island Airlines.
Island Air
Island Air I'iwi bird logo.png
Founded 1980 (as Princeville Airways)
Hubs Honolulu International Airport
Kahului Airport
Frequent-flyer program Island Miles
Fleet size 5
Destinations 4
Company slogan Proudly Serving Our Hawaiian Islands
Parent company Hawaii Island Air, Inc.
Headquarters Honolulu, Hawaii
Key people Larry Ellison (owner)
David Pflieger (President and CEO)[1]

Island Air (officially Hawaii Island Air, Inc.) is an independent American commuter airline based in Honolulu, Hawaii.[2][3] It operates scheduled inter-island passenger services in Hawaii. Its main base is Honolulu International Airport[4] on Oahu, with a hub at Kahului Airport on Maui.

The airline maintains a code share and frequent flyer agreement with United Airlines. Hawaiian Airlines halted its commercial relationship with Island Air in 2012 when it announced plans to begin operating ATR-42s in the islands under its own brand. Island Air also operates its own frequent flyer program, Island Miles (formerly Cloud 9).


Princeville Airways[edit]

Island Air was incorporated in 1980 by Colorado-based Consolidated Oil and Gas as Princeville Airways. It began scheduled services on September 9, 1980, between Honolulu and Princeville, Kauai using two de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter STOL capable turboprop aircraft. It served this initial regular commuter route between Princeville and Honolulu primarily for Princeville Resort guests.[5] The airline then expanded its interisland routes with service to Hana, Maui; Hoolehua, Molokai; Kahului, Maui; Kamuela, Hawaii (Big Island); Kapalua, Maui (West Maui) and Lanai City, Lanai.[6] The Princeville Airways fleet consisted of eight DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft.

Aloha IslandAir[edit]

In May 1987, Consolidated Oil and Gas sold Princeville Airways to Aloha Air Group, the parent company of Aloha Airlines. Princeville Airways was renamed Aloha IslandAir and served the growing inter-island commuter needs for Aloha Airlines on route services that could not accommodate larger Boeing 737 jetliners. In June 1992, Aloha IslandAir registered the name Island Air as its trade name. In 1995, newly renamed Island Air was granted certification by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate larger aircraft to serve the burgeoning commuter market in Hawaii. In April of that year, Island Air took possession of its first thirty-seven seat De Havilland Canada Dash 8 aircraft.

Hawaii Island Air[edit]

Ownership under Gavarnie Holding, LLC[edit]

Dash 8-100 in the livery introduced in 2006

In December 2003, it was announced that Gavarnie Holding, LLC would purchase Aloha IslandAir from the Aloha AirGroup, making Island Air Hawaii's third largest independent airline. The purchase was completed on May 11, 2004, and the company was renamed Hawaii Island Air, Inc., although the airline continued to do business as "Island Air". After the purchase, Island Air expanded its business, acquiring more aircraft and flying new routes.

In May 2008, Island Air was awarded Essential Air Service routes from Kansas City International Airport to Joplin, Missouri, Grand Island, Nebraska, Harrison, Arkansas, and Hot Springs, Arkansas but did not announce specific starting dates.[7] The following month, however, the airline withdrew from its contract after concluding that a mid-September startup date was unrealistic, citing staffing and fuel costs.[8]

On August 17, 2009, Island Air discontinued all service to Hilo.[9]

In 2012, as the Dash 8 fleet began to approach their useful cycle life, the airline reached out to PenAir of Alaska and wet leased a single Saab 340 for 10 months.[10]

On July 19, 2012, Island Air revealed a new business model which included a complete image and brand overhaul. This coincided with the arrival of the airline's new ATR fleet of turboprop aircraft in August.[11] The airline also unveiled a new website to go alongside its new brand and image launch.[12]

On October 4, 2012, Les Murashige was appointed as the company's new President and CEO replacing Lesley Kaneshiro.[13]

Ownership under Larry Ellison[edit]

ATR 72 in 2014 livery

On January 10, 2013, Island Air announced that the company would be sold to an undisclosed buyer.[14]

On January 18, 2013, Oracle Corporation CEO Larry Ellison, who had recently acquired most of the island of Lanai from David H. Murdock, was reported to be the buyer, though this was not confirmed by the airline at the time.[15]

On February 26, 2013, the sale to Ellison was complete. That same day, the airline certified its first ATR 72, which would go into service the following day.[16] Ellison appointed Paul Casey, former CEO of Hawaiian Airlines and President of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as the company's new President and CEO.[17]

On May 31, 2013, Island Air ended service to Kapalua/West Maui Airport, as a result of phasing out the airline's Dash 8 aircraft and the ATR 72's inability to land at the airport's short runway. In conjunction, service was resumed to Kahului, Maui on April 15, 2013.[18]

In 2014, Island Air discontinued service to Ho'olehua, Molokai.[19]

On September 3, 2014, Island Air appointed David Pflieger, president and chief executive officer of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Silver Airways to assume the roles of president and chief executive officer.[20] Effective October 1, 2014, Pflieger will become the airline's new president and CEO, replacing Paul Casey who will assume an advisory role with the airline.

On April 29, 2015, Island Air announced it would be eliminating Honolulu service to Kauai beginning June 1 and reducing daily frequency by more than half on its Lanai route starting on that date. The airline also announced it will be cutting its workforce by 20 percent as well as canceling delivery of new aircraft in the short term as the airline works to reposition itself as the second largest carrier in the islands. These changes come after the company cited record financial losses of more than $21 million last year alone.[21]


All destinations served by Island Air are in the state of Hawaii in the United States. The following destinations are served:[9]

Island City Airport Notes Refs
Kauai Lihue Lihue Airport ends June 1, 2015 [22]
Lanai Lanai City Lanai Airport
Maui Kahului Kahului Airport [18]
Oahu Honolulu Honolulu International Airport

A ticket counter is maintained in Kailua-Kona, however flights to Kona ceased in 2012.


Dash 8-100 in the airline's pre-2006 livery

The Island Air fleet includes the following aircraft (as of April 2014):[23]

Island Air Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Options Passengers Notes
ATR 72-212 5 - - 64 To be replaced by Bombardier Dash 8 Q400
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 NextGen - 2 4 71 Deliveries from Q3 2014 [24]

The airline took delivery of a Bombardier Q400 (N539DS) in March 2006 and on a five-year lease. In September 2006, the airline announced that it was withdrawing the aircraft from inter-island service the following month, with delivery of two Q400s rescheduled to 2007. The airline has since returned all Q400 aircraft and has no plans to return these aircraft to service.[25]

Aviation Week & Space Technology reported on May 19, 2011, that the airline was looking to add one or two additional Dash 8 aircraft, and was also discussing new aircraft options with ATR, Fokker, Saab, and SuperJet International.[26] The airline announced in late February 2012 that it had reached an agreement to lease six ATR 72 aircraft, along with a Saab 340 wet leased from PenAir.[27] The airline stated in July 2012 that deliveries of ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft would begin the following month.[28]

After acquiring the ATR 72 aircraft, Island Air found them to be unreliable to the point that the airline was reviewing potential replacements as of September 2013.[23] On March 31, 2014, Island Air placed firm orders for two Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 with the intention of replacing ATR 72 with Q400.[29]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

On October 28, 1989, a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter operating Aloha IslandAir Flight 1712 crashed into a mountainous terrain. The crash killed all 20 persons on board.[30] The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of this accident was the airplane's controlled flight into terrain as a result of the decision of the captain to continue flight under visual flight rules at night into instrument meteorological conditions, which obscured rising mountainous terrain.


Island Miles[edit]

Island Miles (formerly Cloud 9) is the travel rewards program of Island Air. The program's airline partners include Star Alliance member United Airlines. Island Air also has an interline agreement with American Airlines. Aloha Airlines was formerly an airline partner until it discontinued passenger operations.[31]

The Island Miles program has no membership fee and any flight credits will be valid for 3 years following the date of the flight. Island Miles accounts which do not earn any flight credits for two years can be placed on "inactive status" and any credits on the account would be forfeited. After six flight segments a one-way award ticket is credited to the member, and after 12 flight credits, a round trip award ticket.[32]



  1. ^ "CEO Shuffle at Silver, IslandAir". October 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-04. 
  2. ^ "Contact Information". Island Air. Retrieved May 20, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Honolulu CDP, HI". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 21, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-03. p. 95. 
  5. ^ About Us, History
  6. ^, Princeville Airways Sept. 8, 1987 system timetable route map
  7. ^ "Island Air awarded Midwest flights". Pacific Business News. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  8. ^ "Island Air withdraws from Midwest contract". Pacific Business News. 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  9. ^ a b "Route Map". Island Air. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  10. ^ Gutierrez, Alexandra (February 14, 2012). "PenAir Plane Gets 10-Month Hawaiian Vacation". (Unalaska Community Broadcasting). Retrieved 2013-11-18. 
  11. ^ "Hawaii Island Air Enhances Inter-Island Service; Launches New Brand And Rolls Out New Fleet Of Efficient Jet Prop Aircraft". July 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-20. 
  12. ^ "Hawaii Island Air launches a new website". July 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  13. ^ "Island Air appoints new executive management". Island Air. October 4, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 
  14. ^ "Island Air to be sold to undisclosed buyer". January 10, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  15. ^ "Oracle CEO Larry Ellison buying Island Air". January 18, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  16. ^ "Oracle's Ellison buys Island Air, adding to his Hawaii portfolio". February 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  17. ^ "Larry Ellison's Hawaii airline gets new CEO". USA Today. Associated Press. April 24, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-18. 
  18. ^ a b "Island Air stops Kapalua route; adds Kahului route". KHON-TV. March 22, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  19. ^ Segal, Dave (February 18, 2014). "Island Air to drop Molokai service". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "Island Air replacing Casey". Star Advertiser. September 3, 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "Record Financial Losses Force Island Air to Slash Workfore by 20 Percent". KHON-TV. April 29, 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b Segal, Dave (September 21, 2013). "Island Air flaws disappoint CEO". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 2013-11-18.  (subscription required)
  24. ^ "Island Air expansion will include up to six new aircraft". KHON-TV. 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  25. ^ Segal, Dave (2006-09-27). "Island Air sidelines its biggest plane". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2006-09-27. 
  26. ^ Michels, Jennifer (May 19, 2011). "Island Air Ready to Grow". Aviation Week & Space Technology. Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  27. ^ Dicus, Howard (February 27, 2012). "Island Air moves faster on expansion". Hawaii News Now. Retrieved February 29, 2012. 
  28. ^ Trimble, Stephen (July 20, 2012). "Island Air shows off new livery as Hawaiian competition heats up". Flightglobal Pro. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  29. ^ Russell, Edward (2014-03-31). "Island Air orders 2 Q400s". Flightglobal. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  30. ^ Waite, David (October 30, 1989). "20 die in worst interisland air crash, 8 from high school teams among dead". Honolulu Advertiser. p. A1. 
  31. ^ "Reward Programs". Island Air. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Island Miles Terms and Conditions". Island Air. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]