Hawaiian Airlines ends ‘Ohana ATR freighter operation

Hawaiian Airlines will not restart its ‘Ohana by Hawaiian ATR freighter service that covered various islands in the state.

The freighter service was suspended in November 2020 as state and county quarantine measures triggered a labor provision that led to the temporary suspension of passenger and cargo flights.

Passenger operations were also affected by a decline in customers.

Hawaiian decided to permanently end service following an in-depth assessment of the overall operation and its long-term viability.

“This is a heartbreaking decision, particularly for those of us who were involved in launching the business in 2014,” said Peter Ingram, president and chief executive at Hawaiian Airlines. “We took a hard look at the service and could not identify a way to restart and sustainably operate.”

Hawaiian would have incurred significant costs and faced numerous obstacles in restarting service with its current fleet of aircraft, the company explained.

The soonest flights could have resumed was at the end of this year.

‘Ohana by Hawaiian was operated by Idaho-based Empire Airlines.

“When service was at its peak, Empire employed 82 pilots, flight attendants and maintenance personnel in the state of Hawai‘i as well as 15 at its home base in Idaho,” Hawaiian said. “All 97 employees were dedicated to the ‘Ohana operation.”

Worldwide Flight Services employed a staff of 28 to provide ground handling services and all other ‘Ohana by Hawaiian operations were managed by Hawaiian employees, who will be reassigned to other areas of the company.

Following the decision, Hawaiian has begun moving its ATR fleet to the US mainland for storage and eventual sale.

“We thank the communities of Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i for their support of ‘Ohana by Hawaiian,” said Ingram. “We will continue to explore opportunities to return to and to reconnect the islands as Hawai‘i’s carrier.”

Hawaiian launched ‘Ohana by Hawaiian flights in the spring of 2014, followed by all-cargo service in the summer of 2018.

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]