|Founded||1994 (as Mokulele Flight Service)|
Kona International Airport
|Parent company||Transpac Aviation|
Mokulele Flight Service, Inc., doing business as Mokulele Airlines, Inc., is an American commuter airline based in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The airline operates scheduled inter-island and charter flights primarily among Hawaii's smaller airports.
Mokulele Flight Service and Mokulele Airlines
The airline was founded in 1994 as Mokulele Flight Service by Rebecca "Kawehi" Inaba, and was the first airline in Hawaii to be founded by a Native Hawaiian woman. In 2005 it was acquired by Boyer Industries LLC, headed by former baggage handler turned entrepreneur William "Bill" Boyer Jr., who became the airline's CEO. The company, at this point, had a fleet of three Piper Navajo Chieftans and was only operating charters and sightseeing trips to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and scenic flights around the Big Island and Maui.
In September 2006, the airline announced that it had reached an agreement with Mesa Air Group and its go! division, whereby Mokulele would operate Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft to Kapalua, Molokai, and Lanai under the name go!Express. Service began with flights from Kapalua to Honolulu, Kahului, and Kona on April 17, 2007. Service began for flights to Molokai on July 21, 2007 and flights to Lanai on October 6, 2007.
In January 2008, the airline reached an agreement with Aloha Airlines to provide cargo service to Molokai, Lanai, and Kapalua under the name Aloha Cargo Express beginning in April using a Cessna 208 Cargomaster. Following Aloha's March 2008 bankruptcy, Boyer indicated that he had an agreement with Aloha CEO David Banmiller to work with the buyer of Aloha's cargo operations to continue the Mokulele-Aloha contract. Boyer also stated that the airline would go ahead with cargo operations under its own name, Mokulele Air Cargo.
In October 2008, Mokulele announced that it had reached an agreement with Republic Airways Holdings to provide inter-island jet service. On November 19, Republic's Shuttle America began operating two Embraer 170 aircraft on flights between Honolulu, Lihue, and Kona under the Mokulele name, with additional aircraft and destinations to be added in 2009. As a result of Mokulele's entrance into markets that compete directly with go!, that airline later announced that it would end the go!Express agreement with Mokulele in April 2009.
In December 2008, Mokulele Airlines announced partnerships with two larger North American airlines. The first, with Alaska Airlines, allows members of Alaska's Mileage Plan frequent flyer program to earn and redeem miles on Mokulele flights, with a code-sharing agreement hoped for in early 2009. The second, with WestJet Airlines, provides access to Mokulele's inter-island flights to WestJet's customers, including sightseeing air tours. Each airline was to promote the other on their respective websites.
After running into financial difficulties earlier in the year, the airline announced in March 2009 that Republic had taken a 50% stake in the company. Boyer relinquished the CEO position to Republic vice president Scott Durgin, moving to head the airline's sales and marketing efforts. Republic also assumed control of the Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft operated by Mokulele. A few days later, Mesa announced that the change of CEO allows the airline to terminate its agreement with Mokulele early, and would terminate the agreement effective March 24, 2009 and nullifying Mokulele agreement to operate Caravans as "go! express."
go! Mokulele joint venture
In October 2009, Mokulele announced that it was going to join go! and become go! Mokulele. Peter Forman, an airline historian, said that the merger would cause air fares in Hawaii to increase, since go! and Mokulele no longer compete with one another. The merger agreement includes a joint venture, with 75% of the joint venture owned by Mesa and 25% owned by Mokulele shareholders.
New Mokulele Airlines
In November 2011, Mesa Air Group announced that it had sold the go! Mokulele turboprop operation, operated by Mokulele Airlines, to Scottsdale, Arizona-based Transpac Aviation Inc. go!Mokulele's turboprop services continued to be operated by Mokulele under a code share agreement. On Friday, December 9, Mokulele grounded its fleet in conjunction with an internal record-keeping audit. Flights resumed the following Monday.
In December 2011, the airline unveiled plans to begin operating a charter service from Honolulu to Rockford, Illinois and London. When the service was approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation the following month, the schedule showed a Boeing 767-200ER leased from Air Transport International will operate the flights, with the Honolulu to Rockford segment beginning on April 13, 2012, and the Rockford to London segment starting May 4. On April 8, the airline delayed the start of service until at least October. In early 2012, Mesa Air Group announced it would rebrand its jets operations back to the go! name as the name go!Mokulele and Mokulele was causing some brand confusion among the two companies. The airline also abandoned its non-turboprop charter plans so it could focus on service in the isles.
In April 2012, the airline started operating daily service between Maui and Lanai. In July 2012, the airline returned to Kapalua Airport in West Maui, with flights from Honolulu to Kapalua twice per day.
In October 2012, the airline brought a new city to the network, Hana, located on the far east side of Maui. The flights operate twice a day under a partnership with the owners of the resort in Hana. The airline also outsourced eight flights a day to Schuman Aviation - Makani Kai, to bring additional frequencies on the Maui - Kona route, bringing the total daily flights to fifteen on peak days, each way. When Island Air announced plans to retire their fleet of Dash 8 aircraft, Mokulele jumped on the opportunity and ordered additional Caravans to fill the gap.  Mokulele presently flies 8 to 9 flights a day between West Maui and Honolulu, as well as 2 new flights linking West Maui to Kona, and a flight for tour operators to Hana, allowing customers on the "Road to Hana" tour to fly back to West Maui rather than drive. Passengers who flew to Hana can then drive back on the tour.
On May 23, 2013, the airline bid on Essential Air Service to Kamuela/Waimea, Hawai'i. The airline has proposed 2 flights a day to Honolulu for an annual subsidy of $584,000 compared to over $900,000 bid by Makani Kai. The airline is hoping to secure a 4-year contract and has proposed decreasing subsidies for each year of service. The US DOT awarded the route to Mokulele on July 2, 2013 with flights to Kahului expected to start in late summer.
Kamuela services started on time and with a completely full flight on September 21st.  The current plans of the airline are to continue phasing out the older Cessna Grand Caravan 208B aircraft with new, factory delivered Cessna Caravans. Mokulele Airlines will soon[when?] be the largest passenger operator of the Cessna Grand Caravan 208EX, offering higher payload and a brand new Garmin 1000 "glass cockpit" software suite.
As of September 2013, Mokulele Airlines has 9 aircraft in its fleet consisting of:
|Cessna 208B Grand Caravan||5||0||9 (0/9)|
|Cessna 208EX Grand Caravan||4||5||9 (0/9)|
The airline has been phasing out all "older" Cessna Grand Caravan 208B aircraft in favor of new, factory-built aircraft that have the updated "glass" cockpits. Mokulele presently operates 5 aircraft that were built in 2012 and 2013. The Embraer 170 aircraft operated by Shuttle America have since been returned to the mainland.
Mokulele Airlines operates flights to the following destinations:
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- Gomes, Andrew. "Delays mar first post-merger day for go! Mokulele airline." The Honolulu Advertiser at USA Today. October 16, 2009. Retrieved on October 19, 2009.
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- David, Mari-Ela. "Airline expert expects fares to go up in Mokulele and go! merger." KHNL. October 14, 2009. Updated October 15, 2009. Retrieved on October 19, 2009.
- "Mesa's go!, Republic's Mokulele form Hawaiian joint venture." ATW Daily News. Thursday October 15, 2009. Retrieved on October 19, 2009.
- "Mesa Air Group sells Hawaii turboprop service". Pacific Business News (Honolulu). November 15, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- "Mokulele resumes interisland turboprop flights". Pacific Business News. December 12, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
- Leaf, Brian (January 23, 2012). "Feds OK Rockford airport's charters to London, Hawaii". The Rockford Register Star. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
- Leaf, Brian (April 8, 2012). "Rockford airport's flights to London, Hawaii put on hold". The Rockford Register Star. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- "April News and Discounts – Kahului Lanai starting at $42.49, 25% Keiki discount for travel in April" (Press release). Mokulele Airlines. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- "Mokulele Airlines returns to Kapalua and West Maui, flights start July 1" (Press release). Mokulele Airlines. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
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- "Mokulele's Kahului to Hana inaugural flight took off Monday". KHON-TV. October 1, 2012. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- "Mokulele to start flights from Honolulu to Kapalua, Maui, in July". Pacific Business News. May 21, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- Segal, Dave (2006-09-14). "Isle air wars intensify". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2006-10-13.
- Segal, Dave (2007-01-26). "Mesa's delays plan to swap its fleet for larger aircraft". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "go!Express launches". Pacific Business News. 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
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