Maui Business

Southern Airways to Bring Larger Turboprop Aircraft to Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi

May 12, 2021, 6:35 AM HST
* Updated May 12, 1:05 PM
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The Beechcraft 1900 aircraft is a 19-passenger, twin-engine turboprop plane with a pressurized cabin.  

Southern Airways, the parent company of Mokulele Airlines, announced today that it is bringing a larger cabin-class aircraft to Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi with weekday service to begin in the fall.  

The Beechcraft 1900 aircraft is a 19-passenger, twin-engine turboprop plane with a pressurized cabin.  It was designed for regional airline operations and is powered by the same Pratt & Whitney PT6 engines that are used on Mokulele’s Cessna Caravans.  

Company representatives say elderly passengers and those with limited mobility will benefit from the new aircraft type, because boarding and moving about the cabin will be an easier process. The plane will also be available for specialty charters, like high school athletic teams traveling to neighbor islands for sporting events.

The initial service pattern will include two roundtrips to Honolulu from Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i most days of the week. Tickets are expected to go on sale this summer, pending DOT and FAA approvals.

“Southern Airways and Mokulele have shown great commitment to our communities since the start of the pandemic,” said state Representative Lynn Decoite.

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Hawai‘i Department of Transportation Deputy Director Ross Higashi echoed the community benefits saying, “Adding this aircraft type to their fleet will offer ease and convenience for Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i residents who have special travel needs, as well as offering an alternative to people that prefer flying on a larger aircraft.”

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The Beechcraft 1900 will be operated under the Southern Airways brand as a way to differentiate its flights from the Mokulele Caravans that presently operate in Hawai‘i.

According to the company, Mokulele now operates over 100 scheduled daily departures between the islands, the most of any airline.

“This is a logical next step for our airline as we continue to rebound from the COVID pandemic and continue to show our commitment to the people of Hawai‘i,” said Stan Little, Chairman and CEO of Southern Airways and Mokulele. “It will be a proud day in the 27-year history of Mokulele when this aircraft has its inaugural flight this Fall.”

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Founded in 2013, Florida-based Southern Airways has quickly grown to become one of the largest commuter airlines in the United States. Operating a fleet of Cessna Caravans and Grand Caravans, Southern, along with its subsidiary, Mokulele Airlines, serves 37 cities with more than 220 peak-day departures from hubs at Baltimore, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Kahului, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Pittsburgh, plus seasonal hubs at Palm Beach and Nantucket.

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