PHOTO ILLUS. COURTESY PACIFIC WINGS
Pacific Wings operates operates six nine-seat, turboprop Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, and has purchased a seventh plane that will be available next week. CLICK FOR LARGE
Pacific Wings ups Molokai service
The airline will offer $29 one-way flights starting next week
Molokai residents and visitors, whose air service was sharply curtailed on April 2 when Molokai Air Shuttle ceased operations to the island, got more options yesterday when PW Express said it would double its scheduled service to, from and within the Friendly Isle.
PW Express, the low-cost division of Kahului, Maui-based Pacific Wings, will offer 50 daily flights beginning next Wednesday at $29 each, including hourly service between Honolulu and Kaunakakai. The carrier also will include four daily flights between Kaunakakai and Kalaupapa, as well as flights between Honolulu and Kalaupapa, Kahului and Kaunakakai, and Kahului and Kalaupapa.
"We actually had plans to expand services to Molokai for quite some time (before Molokai Air Shuttle halted service)," Pacific Wings President Greg Kahlstorf said.
PW Express, filling a void for air service to Molokai, will double its level of scheduled service to, from and within the Friendly Isle to 50 daily flights beginning next Wednesday.
Molokai had been left with limited service since April 2 after Molokai Air Shuttle, an on-call, on-demand airline, stopped service to the island following a dispute with the Federal Aviation Administration over the frequency of the airline's operations.
Pacific Wings President Greg Kahlstorf said the carrier already had been planning on expanding service to Molokai, and that Molokai Air Shuttle's announcement "caught us by surprise."
"We had sort of timed everything and it had been in production," said Kahlstorf, who said the new service will be launched with a television, print and radio advertising campaign next week.
PW Express, the low-cost division of Kahului-based Pacific Wings, will offer $29 one-way flights that will include hourly daily service between Honolulu and Kaunakakai from 6:20 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. The service also will include four daily flights between Kaunakakai and Kalaupapa, which has a National Historic Park and a state-run settlement for Hansen's Disease patients. About 100 people live and work in the area.
"The Health Department called us and said they needed to get people down there," Kahlstorf said. "People also were concerned on the top side (the Kaunakakai area) of getting down there."
Besides flights between Honolulu and Kaunakakai, and Kaunakakai and Kalaupapa, PW Express also will offer flights between Honolulu and Kalaupapa, Kahului and Kaunakakai, and Kahului and Kalaupapa.
Kahlstorf also said Pacific Wings, which operates six nine-seat, turboprop Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, has purchased a seventh plane that will be available next week and is in negotiations to buy an eighth.
Island Air also serves Molokai, while Mokulele Airlines, which had planned to start service to Molokai last week under the Mokulele Airlines name, said yesterday it now plans to wait until mid-May when its second newly ordered Caravan comes in to Honolulu. At that time, it will begin service to Molokai as go!Express under its code-share with interisland carrier go!, according to Mokulele Chief Executive William Boyer.
Gabriel Kimbrell, general operations manager for PW Express, said PW Express also will begin offering eight daily round-trip flights between Kona and Kahului on June 1. Those flights will be $29 one way.
Kahlstorf said Pacific Wings plans to buy additional planes besides the two intended for Hawaii because of the carrier's federal Essential Air Service contract for New Mexico that was approved last week by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Pacific Wings will offer two one-stop, round-trip flights daily between Hobbs and Albuquerque, and two nonstop round-trip flights daily between Carlsbad and Albuquerque.
Kahlstorf said yesterday he was re-examining an EAS contract to provide service in New Mexico between Clovis and Albuquerque after a deal with Wyoming-based Great Lakes Aviation was rescinded. Pacific Wings initially had been beat out for the contract, but the U.S. DOT awarded Great Lakes Aviation a contract to provide air service between Clovis and Denver instead of the Clovis City Commission's choice of Albuquerque. The contract was rescinded after objections by city and state officials.