Hawaiian seeks West Maui certification for ATR 42s

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Hawaiian Airlines is seeking certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate its ATR 42-500s to the West Maui airport.

The Honolulu-based carrier needs the approval in order for its new regional subsidiary Ohana to begin service to the airport, which it hopes to do within a year of commencing operations - or by the middle of 2014 - says Andrew Watterson, vice-president of planning and revenue management at Hawaiian, on the sidelines of the Phoenix International Aviation Symposium in Phoenix today.

Ohana is slated to begin flights between Honolulu and Lana'i and Moloka'i with two 48-seat ATR 42s in the third quarter. Empire Airlines will operate the carrier.

West Maui has a 914m (3,000ft) runway while Lana'i has a 1,524m runway and Moloka'i two runways with the longest 1,370m, according to the state of Hawaii.

Watterson says that competitor Island Air will have to end flights between Honolulu and West Maui once it retires its fleet of Bombardier Dash 8-100, which it plans to do by June.