Hawaiian Airlines says it will suspend ‘Ohana by Hawaiian passenger flights between Honolulu and Molokai and Lanai starting Nov. 1, as well as cargo-only service within the Hawaiian Islands. Service between Honolulu and Kapalua in West Maui was suspended in March.

In a statement Friday, the company attributed the suspension to “economic challenges of low travel demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine restrictions.”

Hawaiian reduced its workforce by nearly 2,500 employees this month when the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Payroll Support Program expired.

According to its website, Mokulele Airlines continues to provide service to Molokai and Lanai.

Hawaiian Airlines aircraft parked near the Daniel K Inouye International Airport Interisland terminal side of the airport. June 11, 2020
Hawaiian Airlines aircraft parked at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. The airline is cutting service to Lanai and Molokai. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

In a news release issued late Friday, Hawaiian said it had sought to preserve service to Molokai and Lanai, but that low travel demand caused by the pandemic and the state of Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine for travelers triggered a labor provision in Hawaiian’s pilot contract that affected its ability to provide the ‘Ohana by Hawaiian service, which Hawaiian operated with Idaho-based Empire Airlines.

Hawaii is scheduled on Oct. 15 to lift the quarantine requirement for travelers who test negative for COVID-19 within three days of traveling to Hawaii.

Peter Ingram, Hawaiian’s president and chief executive, said Hawaiian plans to resume the interisland service but did not say when.

“While we are disappointed at being unable to avoid the service suspension, this is a difficult situation for both Hawaiian and Empire Airlines as we navigate an incredibly challenging period, and we all remain committed to returning flights to communities that rely on ‘Ohana by Hawaiian,” Ingram said.

Hawaiian said it is contacting affected guests to provide refunds. The airline said it’s offering cargo customers refunds or, in some cases, the option to transport goods on Hawaiian’s Boeing 717 and A321neo aircraft.

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