Island Air to Close Operations After 37 Years
Legal battle with companies from which the interisland carrier leases its planes prompts airline to end service Nov. 11.
Photo: Courtesy of Island Air
Island Air announced Thursday afternoon, Nov. 9, it will close at one minute after midnight on Saturday, Nov. 11, forcing any passengers booked or planning to book to make other flight arrangements.
Lessors Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, N.A. and Elix 8 Ltd. had gone to court to ground and repossess the fleet, forcing the company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month.
“Island Air has taken every measure possible to avoid this tremendous hardship to its passengers,” said Island Air president and CEO David Uchiyama in a statement.
“Island Air appreciates the loyalty and support its customers, management, employees and vendors have shown the airline, especially during the last few weeks of this bankruptcy process. Island Air is proud of its 37-year history of service to the State of Hawai‘i,” Uchiyama said.
Gov. David Ige thanked the company and its employees for their service to the community. “The closure will have a tremendous effect on 400 employees and their families, and the state will be working with Island Air to help the employees apply for unemployment insurance and provide assistance with job searches and training opportunities,” Ige said in a statement.
Island Air officials say the company was unable to locate a new investor or lender to provide funding to support airline flight operations and a successful reorganization. Officials charge that lessors continued to engage in multidirectional legal attacks which the company couldn’t combat without additional financing.