BREAKING: Mokulele Restores Air Service to Hana
By Wendy Osher
For the first time in a dozen years, regularly scheduled air service will resume in the remote East Maui town of Hana.
The joint announcement was made today by Mokulele Airlines, Travaasa Hana Maui, and State Senator J. Kalani English who represents the East Maui community.
Starting on October 1, 2012, Mokulele Airlines will operate twice-daily flight service from Maui’s Kahului Airport to Hana Airport utilizing a nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravan 208B craft. The flight will take an estimated 20 minutes with ticket prices starting at $59 each way.
“I worked tirelessly over the years to have air service restored at rural airports across the state,” said Sen. English who serves as chair of the State Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs.
“I appreciate Mokulele’s decision to operate out of Hana Airport, which is the first step towards restoring flights at other rural airports in the future,” said Sen. English, who lives in Hana.
“Our departures from Kahului Airport will be an easy connect for visitors flying direct into Maui, or arriving on Maui via Honolulu International Airport. We encourage early bookings to ensure a seat,” said Ron Hansen, CEO of Mokulele Airlines.
The morning flight will depart Kahului Airport at 11:19 a.m. and arrive at Hana Airport at 11:40 a.m. It departs Hana at 12 p.m. returning to Kahului at 12:21 p.m. The afternoon flight departs Kahului at 4:14 p.m. arriving in Hana at 4:35 p.m. It leaves Hana at 4:55 p.m. and arrives back in Kahului at 5:16 p.m.
The flight service is being launched in partnership with Travaasa Hana Maui, a resort and spa located in Hana town.
A restored Packard jitney operated by Travaasa Hana will meet both flights and shuttle passengers a short four-mile drive to the hotel.
“Now, guests have a choice of experiencing the adventure and beauty of the Road to Hana by car or flying into Hana in minutes and enjoying the coastline from aloft via Mokulele Airlines. For the town, these flights give residents, government workers, and business people an efficient option to get to and from Hana,” said Chris Manning, co-founder and president of Travaasa Experiential Resorts.
Sen. English said the twice daily flight will provide a boost for the economy in Hana, and will also be good for the Travaasa resort. Other benefits, he said, would be more efficient mail and newspaper delivery.
“Hana Medical Center, Hana School, state and county government would benefit from this new venture as well,” he said.
For East Maui residents who work outside of Hana, Sen. English said, it would greatly improve their quality of life.
“Residents and visitors alike will enjoy the convenience of traveling in and out of Hana. We are ecstatic over the chance to cut our travel time from Hana to Kahului significantly,” said Sen. English, who explained that transport via plane would take 20 minutes, compared to a car drive that can take at least two hours.
“Now Hana residents have an opportunity to connect to other parts of the state thanks to Mokulele. This service also provides an important lifeline for us,” said Sen. English.