Go! and Mokulele Merge

Two airlines form state’s second largest carrier flying between the islands


By: By Marty Wentzel

Clients have another interisland airline to choose from thanks to the recent merger of carriers Go! and Mokulele. Dubbed Go! Mokulele, it’s now the state’s second largest carrier flying between the islands.

Hawaii’s ongoing tourism slump has caused financial hardship for the interisland carriers, said Bryan Bedford, chairman of Mokulele’s parent company Republic Airways.

“During this period of economic stress within our industry, it is especially important to closely match capacity with demand,” Bedford said. “This arrangement allows Mokulele to right-size the aircraft within its network.”

Clients who want to fly from island to island now have three major companies to choose from. Along with Go! Mokulele, they can book the dominant carrier Hawaiian Airlines—which just celebrated its 80th anniversary—and the smaller Island Air, which serves secondary airports like Hooleuhua on Molokai, Kapalua on Maui and Lanai City on Lanai. Go! Mokulele flies to a mix of primary and secondary airports on six islands.

Agents and their clients can continue to book reservations on the Web sites for Go! (www.iflygo.com) and Mokulele (www.mokulele.com), and travelers can check in at the carrier’s rebranded ticket counters. Existing reservations booked with Go! and Mokulele are being honored.

Mokulele has been around since 1998 when it operated on the Big Island, but it started expanding its routes and fleet in the fall of 2008. More recently, the carrier defaulted on an $8 million loan and Republic boosted its ownership and investment in the interisland carrier to keep it aloft.

Go!, meanwhile, was launched in June 2006 by Mesa Air Group, touching off an interisland fare war and contributing, in part, to the demise of longtime carrier Aloha Airlines.

Mesa chairman Jonathan Ornstein said Go! Mokulele will promote itself as a low-cost airline.

“This strategic alliance in partnership with Mokulele is a first among regional airlines and will provide a tremendous platform for the future growth of the Go! and Mokulele brands,” said Ornstein. “We look forward to making a positive contribution to the development of this joint venture and to forging a strong long-term relationship with our friends at Mokulele and Republic.”

Mokulele CEO Scott Durgin echoed those sentiments, stating that, “This combination will ensure that the Hawaii interisland market is served by a strong competitor offering continued low fares to the traveling public.”