Hawaiian Airlines’ new regional subsidiary Ohana by Hawaiian aims to secure US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification by early 2014, nearly half a year after the carrier planned to begin service.
“It’s full steam ahead right now headed towards certification fairly early after the first of the year,” says Timothy Komberec, president and chief executive of Idaho-based Empire Airlines, which is contracted to operate Ohana.
The FAA is working “diligently” to resolve the problems created by the sequester budget cuts this past March and certify Ohana, he says.
Komberec told Flightglobal in October that the agency was unable to send inspectors to Hawaii to certify the operations due to cuts to its travel budget.
There is still no launch date. Despite this, Honolulu-based Hawaiian says that it hopes to begin operations in early 2014.
“[Ohana is] one area where we’re a little behind plan,” said Peter Ingram, chief commercial officer of the airline, on the launch in October.
Service was originally scheduled to begin in July or August.
Ohana will initially fly from Honolulu to Lana’i and Moloka’i. Future service is planned between Honolulu and West Maui, as well as flying between Kahului, Maui, and Hilo, Kona and Lihue during off-peak hours.
Service will begin with three ATR 42-500 aircraft that Hawaiian has bought.
Komberec says that they are waiting for the FAA to issue a supplemental type certificate for interior modifications to the three aircraft.
The first ATR 42 is scheduled to be painted in Texas after Thanksgiving, which is 28 November, he says.