The financially troubled Island Air said Tuesday that it will discontinue service to Lanai beginning March 31.
“It was a difficult decision. However, as Island Air continues to restructure, we are taking a hard look at all of the destinations we serve and where our resources are best deployed,” Les Murashige, CEO of Island Air, said in a statement.
In 2014, Island Air ended its service to Molokai.
Since then, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii’s top carrier, has launched its Ohana by Hawaiian service, cementing its dominance in the state.
In addition to Lanai, Island Air also currently offers flights each week between Oahu, Maui and Kauai.
State Rep. Lynn DeCoite, the Democrat whose district includes Lanai, released a statement about her disappointment over the airline’s decision:
“I am concerned for my constituents, the residents of Lanai, who are already slighted by many other services that the residents of other islands don’t have to worry about. I am concerned that this leaves only one other airline offering flights and am worried about the effect this will have on ticket pricing and the limited fight schedules. …
Lanai residents need to be able to travel for doctors’ appointments, business meetings, school and athletic functions and just to shop for basic household essentials.”
Area state Sen. Kalani English expressed similar concerns, adding:
“While I understand the financial challenges that played into the decision, my main concern is for the residents of Lanai who depend on air travel for essential activities such as business and medical appointments. Significant steps are being made towards revitalizing Lanai to become a prominent tourism destination and I hope this doesn’t deter from that progress. My hope is that reliable air service will continue to Lanai and as Island Air works to stabilize its business, the company will reconsider resuming interisland flights to the island.”