The airline has come under pressure to offer more reliable service to Molokai and Lanai.

Mokulele Airlines announced it will suspend daily flights between Hilo and Kahului starting Aug. 1 in order to boost service to Molokai and Lanai. The airline will also add a new evening flight between Kahului and Kona.

Molokai and Lanai travelers now have one choice when traveling by air: Mokulele Airlines. Two other airlines that used to serve the islands — Makani Kai and Ohana by Hawaiian — ceased operations in November 2020 and January 2021, respectively, as the Covid-19 pandemic decimated the travel sector.

The last surviving public airline servicing Molokai and Lanai has since become a target of a monthslong barrage of customer complaints over inadequate service. Mokulele executives publicly acknowledged recent shortcomings primarily affecting Molokai and Lanai residents and promised in March to “step up” service.

An enduring issue is that Mokulele primarily operates nine-passenger Cessna Grand Caravans that can fill up quickly. To better accommodate passengers, the airline announced this spring that it would invest $10 million to order more planes and improve customer service.

The airline said it will resume its Hilo-to-Kahului service at some point in the future but did not offer a date.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by a grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

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