Hawaiian Airlines will have to park its three active freighters when regional subsidiary ‘Ohana is suspended from Nov. 1. The suspension is triggered by a scope clause restricting the amount of flying the airline can contract out to Idaho-based Empire Airlines, which operates ‘Ohana’s cargo and passenger services, when flying by its own 717 and A321neo pilots is severely reduced.
Hawaiian told Cargo Facts the suspension could last until June 2021, depending on whether passenger demand picks up sufficiently. In the meantime, Hawaiian is working with customers on alternatives — either interlining with “other carriers” or transferring them to the 717s and A321neos it flies between the islands.
Empire, which flies three ATR 72-200Fs and four passenger ATR 42-500s for ‘Ohana, told Cargo Facts it intends to keep the organization intact “for the foreseeable future” despite the suspension. Around forty-five pilots will stay in Hawaii until services can restart, which could either be when Congress passes another round of CARES payroll support, or when inter-island travel recovers.
Hawaiian has a fourth ATR 72-200F (389, ex-ASL Airlines Ireland) which it acquired earlier this year; the carrier confirmed it will remain at Empire’s facility in Coeur d’Alene (COE) until ‘Ohana flying can resume. Empire, for its part, said any bridging work is on hold for now, but the aircraft can be made ready for service in around sixty days.
Hawaiian, which continues to operate A330-200s on cargo-only flights to Los Angeles (LAX), Seoul (ICN) and Tokyo (NRT), began scheduled ‘Ohana cargo operations with its first two ATR 72-200Fs (227, ex-Solenta Aviation; and 423, ex-First Air) in 2018, then added a third (432, ex-First Air) in August 2019.
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