Despite touting their customer-centric style of business, there appears to be trouble at Mokulele Airlines now, with many on Molokai complaining that Airline frequently leaves them stranded. That’s a complete 180 to the ethos they espoused not long ago.
Trouble at Mokulele Airlines
Like Hawaiian, the trouble at Mokulele Airlines appears to stem largely from Hawaii’s weather. In the first 15 days of March, Mokulele had eight days of significant delays. Though the Airline doesn’t go into details, the comment section of several articles has Molokai residents complaining of delays ranging from eight hours to three days. That’s unacceptable, especially when you consider that many travel from Molokai to seek medical care on Oahu or to buy necessities they can’t get on the island. Plus, doctors that rotate through the island can’t make it there to see their patients too.
Then again, Mokulele’s fleet of single-engine Cessna Grand Caravans don’t handle bad weather well. Think about it – if Hawaiian and Southwest are experiencing weather-related delays with their larger Boeing 717s and 737s, Mokulele sure as hell ain’t flying, either. Plus, apparently, many of them are down for heavy checks and refurbishments.
But what about Mokulele’s new-to-them Saab 340s, you ask? Well, apparently, one was damaged by a ground-handling mishap, while another was undergoing a five-year check, making them both unavailable.
Schedule Changes and More
To help cope with the trouble at Mokulele Airlines, they’re cutting their schedule for the time being. Beginning on Saturday (4/1), they’re dropping a daily flight to Kapalua, Hilo, and Kona to free up crews and aircraft for Molokai and Lanai. They’re also bringing two nine-seat Tecnam Travellers over from Mokulele’s parent company, Southern Airways, Guam subsidiary, to fill in for the Cessnas. Finally, Southern has acquired one more 28-seat Saab 340 to help stabilize their service, but it won’t arrive until summer.
Flying essential service routes like these isn’t glamorous or enriching work, so I have to give Mokulele and Southern props for at least that. However, they are completely failing the people of Molokai right now, though, unfortunately, much of it appears to be thanks to a perfect storm of coincidences. Add that to the fact that Molokai’s tiny airport can’t handle the larger Boeings flying inter-island, and there isn’t much else that can be done for the island’s residents. But, hopefully, the investments and changes Southern/Mokulelei are making now will help prevent this situation from happening again.