Cargo Carrier Readies To Fly Pax

 - June 4, 2013, 3:35 AM

FedEx Express feeder carrier Empire Airlines expects to start flying passengers to Kauai and Lanai in Hawaii as a Hawaiian Airlines code-share partner by “mid-summer,” Empire CEO Tim Komberec told a gathering of reporters at last month’s RAA Convention in Montreal. To fly a pair of ATR 42-500s with a new certificate registered under the name Ohana Airlines, the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-based company answered Hawaiian’s call for passenger feed into islands now served primarily by fellow ATR operator Island Air, recently bought by Oracle boss Larry Ellison. Komberec noted that he didn’t think FAA budget cuts will result in an extended delay in certifying Ohana, but he also expressed pity for airlines trying to change equipment gauge. “They’re very limited in what they can do,” said Komberec.