A newly formed holding company owned by Lawrence J. Ellison, the third-richest U.S. citizen, has bought Hawaiian regional airline Island Air.
The purchase secures the future of Island Air and its employees, according to the carrier.
“This is another major investment and commitment to Hawai’i,” said Paul Marinelli, vice president of Lawrence Investments, LLC. “We understand the critical importance of transportation in an island state and we will ensure that Island Air strengthens its role, capacity and service to the people of Hawai’i. We recognize the need for providing options for travelers, and we believe Island Air has tremendous potential to deliver value to both residents and visitors.”
Ellison – best known as Larry Ellison and as the co-founder and CEO of software giant Oracle Corporation – recently bought most of the Hawaiian island of Lāna’i, one of the islands which Island Air serves. Ellison reportedly intends not to develop Lāna’i for tourism but to keep it as an agricultural producer, adding clean-energy technologies to make the island a model of sustainable-energy living and industry.
Following its purchase by Ellison, Island Air appears likely to remain a key source of air transportation for residents of and visitors to Lāna’i.
“We are excited Mr. Ellison has acquired Island Air. He has the vision and resources to literally take Island Air to new heights,” said Les Murashige, Island Air’s president.
“The entire Island Air team pulled together over the past year to restructure and position the company for success and this sale represents the culmination of that process,” adds Murashige. “I want to personally thank our 245 employees, the unions that represent them, and our entire management team for their efforts this past year. And, on behalf of all of us at Island Air, we welcome Mr. Ellison and we look forward to an exciting future together.”
Island Air has added to its fleet a used, 1993-built ATR 72-200 turboprop formerly operated on the American Eagle network, providing Island Air passengers with a larger aircraft with more seats, more legroom and greater comfort.
The airline is not planning any staff changes and Island Air says it will continue operations as usual while developing plans for additional aircraft, routes and services. All current tickets will be honored and all members of its Cloud9 frequent-flyer program will retain their status and benefits.
Formally known as Hawaii Island Air, Island Air serves airports on all the major Hawaiian islands. The airline now offers 224 weekly flights linking the islands of O’ahu, Maui, Moloka’i, Lāna’i and Kaua’i. Island Air has codeshare agreements in place with United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.
For reservations, flight information and to become a member of Island Air’s Cloud 9 customer-rewards program, visit www.IslandAir.com.