Mesa Air Group will take a controlling stake in Republic Airways subsidiary Mokulele Airlines under the terms of a deal signed yesterday that will see three Republic/Shuttle America Embraer E170s exit the Mokulele fleet next month in favor of Bombardier CRJs flown by Mesa’s Hawaiian subsidiary, Go!. Under the terms of the contract, Mesa will take a 75-percent interest in the joint venture and Republic a 25-percent share.
Republic Airlines injected another $2.5 million into its partnership with Hawaii’s Mokulele Airlines on May 1 and this month plans to send a fourth Embraer E170 to the islands as it stages a more serious effort to raise its profile in the market. This past March Republic demoted former Mokulele CEO Bill Boyer to head of sales and marketing and installed its own vice president for strategic alliances, Scott Durgin, as interim CEO.
Hawaii’s Island Air will fly de Havilland Dash 8s between Kahului, Maui, Lihue, Kauai and Hilo as Go!Express under the terms of a tentative code-share deal it signed with Mesa Air Group in late February.
The fiery wastelands of Hawaii’s vast volcano fields, among the world’s biggest and most violently active, are one of the Pacific Rim’s biggest tourist attractions and the kind of sightseeing lure best suited to helicopters. The forbidding landscape of lava lakes and fiery fountains is best viewed from the air due to its largely liquid nature and with little in the way of inhabitants to annoy.
Hawaiian de Havilland Dash 8 operator IslandAir withdrew from a newly awarded Essential Air Service (EAS) contract to serve four mainland communities from Kansas City last month after deeming its plans to start operations in September “unrealistic” due to rising fuel costs and a shortage of trained personnel.
Bombardier CL-600-2B19 CRJ, Hilo, Hawaii, Feb. 13, 2008–The Mesa Airlines Go! flight from Honolulu to Hilo overflew its destination airport, Hilo International/General Lyman Field, in cruise. When the airplane was at 21,000 feet the controller tried unsuccessfully several times in 25 minutes to contact the crew, not reaching them until they were 15 miles beyond the airport.
Ross Aviation, backed by private equity firm Centre Partners Management, purchased a majority interest in Bradley Pacific Aviation’s five-FBO chain in Hawaii. The Bradley Pacific acquisition brings the Ross FBO stable to 12 facilities, and Ross Aviation plans to maintain the Bradley Pacific brand name.
The governor of Hawaii, Benjamin Cayetano, has indicated five state-operated airports may close if contract operators cannot be found to administer them under acceptable terms.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of Hawaii yesterday ruled in favor of Hawaiian Airlines in its lawsuit against Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group, awarding $80 million in damages and ordering Mesa to pay all of Hawaiian’s legal costs and “reasonable” lawyer fees. Hawaiian had asked for $173 million and an injunction barring Mesa from operating Go! for a year, a request Judge Robert Faris rejected.
Heli-USA has taken a break from the usual Hawaiian air-tour repertoire of overflying thick jungles, pristine tropical rainforests, volcanoes surging with liquid magma and plunging sliver waterfalls. Instead it is offering tourists the alternative of seeing the 50th state’s glittering nightlife from the same unique perspective.