Last week news broke that the smaller of Hawaii’s remaining airline will be expanding its operations. Specifically, Mokulele Airlines ups their game with additional frequencies out of Honolulu.
When Island Air suddenly closed, it left a void in Hawaii’s inter-island market. At the time, Island Air was Hawaii’s second largest airline, though it accounted for a small percentage of flights between the islands. In fact, while it was still around, Island Air and Mokulele Air accounted for just 10% of all inter-island flights. And after Island Air’s closure, Hawaiian’s share grew to about 95%, while Mokulele came in at 5%. But now, Mokulele is upping their game and will offer additional frequencies.
Mokulele Airlines Ups Their Game
Beginning January 1, 2018, Mokulele Airlines will offer three, daily, direct, round-trip flights between Honolulu and Kahului, Maui. These new flights are an all-new service for the Airline. Currently, Mokulele offers only one-stop service between Honolulu and Kahului. The one-stop flights require a stop of at least 20 minutes at Ho’olehua on the island of Molokai.
Mokulele’s new, non-stop flights will operate as follows:
- Honolulu to Kahului
- 8:30 am – 9:25 am
- 10:015 am – 11:10 am
- 6:15 pm – 7:10 pm
- Kahului to Honolulu
- 6:35 am – 7:35 am
- 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
- 4:45 pm – 5:45 pm
Flights will be operated by the Airline’s existing fleet of nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravans. And, as you can see, flight times are about an hour in each direction.
To celebrate the launch of this new route, Mokulele is offering a special $99 fare. This fare applies to one-way flights only, and are restricted to specific times. Currently, the first week of January shows this special fare available on the 6:15 pm flight out of Honolulu, and the 11:30 am and 4:45 pm flights out of Kahului.
Mokulele Airlines Ups Their Game, Final Thoughts
Flying on Mokulele isn’t for everyone, and it certainly isn’t for me. With Hawaiian, you’ll traverse this route in about 20 minutes aboard a Boeing 717-200. With Mokulele, on the other hand, the flight will last about an hour on a single-prop Cessna. But even if those times and aircraft aren’t an issue for you, there’s also the price. Mokulele’s current fare special comes out to about $200 roundtrip. Hawaiian, on the other hand, offers a number of flights every day priced at $146 roundtrip, with most flights coming under $182. That’s significantly cheaper for arguably a better experience.
The most significant convenience for Mokulele passengers, though, is the lack of TSA screening in Honolulu. With Island Air now out of the picture, Honolulu’s commuter terminal no longer has a TSA checkpoint. So passengers may now arrive just 20 minutes prior to departure. And while TSA checks can be a pain, I’d still prefer to fly on a jet and earn miles that are, well, more useful.
But, I’m glad to see Mokulele stepping it up. Hawaii needs a healthy, competitive airline industry, and currently, it isn’t. So I’m hoping Mokulele is able to continue to grow and more effectively compete with Hawaiian.