Mokulele goes ahead with cargo expansion
, which earlier this year reached an agreement with Aloha Airlines
to fly cargo to smaller neighbor island cities, plans to continue with its own cargo expansion even though Aloha plans to sell its cargo operations.
Bill Boyer, chief executive of Kona-based Mokulele, said yesterday that Mokulele Air Cargo will debut in mid-May or early June with one single-turboprop Cessna 208B Caravan Super Cargomaster capable of carrying up to 3,500 pounds a trip. Boyer also said that Mokulele will be able to carry 500 to 1,000 pounds a trip on its six passenger aircraft, and also is looking at buying two more freighters.
Boyer said he and Aloha CEO David Banmiller have an agreement between themselves to work with the new buyer to make the Mokulele-Aloha contract go forward.
However, Boyer said unless Mokulele firms up a contract with whoever buys Aloha's cargo business, "we will be a direct competitor because we fly to the same islands they do."
Boyer said that initially Mokulele Air Cargo will fly Kona- Maui, Honolulu-Maui, Honolulu-Molokai, Honolulu-Lanai and Honolulu-Kapalua routes.
"Companies are calling us right now because of the Aloha situation, and this (cargo) plane and my passenger planes will be flying cargo all day long," Boyer said. "I think I'll pick up a lot of business Aloha had."
Boyer said a study conducted by Aloha had shown that it would be able to provide Mokulele with 5,000 pounds of cargo a day.
"There's no guarantee we'll be able to do that but we'll be doing some marketing on our own," he said.
Aloha flies 85 percent of the state's air cargo, as well as all the U.S. Mail to Maui and the Big Island.
Boyer said that Mokulele Air Cargo also will be able to deliver air cargo on a first-plane-available basis.
"We'll have a lot of frequency, so fresh vegetables, for example, won't have to wait in the warehouse or at the airport," he said. "We'll ship it on the next available plane."
Mokulele also operates go!Express passenger service for Mesa Air Group's go!, and flies independently under the Mokulele name. Mokulele currently has five nine-seat Cessna 208B Grand Caravans, and is expecting its sixth passenger aircraft to be delivered in June.