Oracle's Ellison buys Hawaii's Island Air

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Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison has purchased Hawaii intra-island carrier Island Air, confirming earlier reported rumours.

The carrier closed the sale today to a newly-formed holding company owned by Ellison, it says.

"This is another major investment and commitment to Hawaii," says Paul Marinelli, vice president of the new holding company Lawrence Investments. "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 Hawaii. We recognise the need for providing options for travellers, and we believe Island Air has tremendous potential to deliver value to both residents and visitors."

The previous owner of the carrier, Gavarnie Holding, said in January that it will sell the airline to an undisclosed customer, and had expected the transaction to close in six to eight weeks. Reports surfaced later that month that Ellison was the undisclosed buyer. Ellison had purchased almost 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lana'i in 2012.

"We are excited Mr Ellison has acquired Island Air. He has the vision and resources to literally take Island Air to new heights," says Les Murashige, Island Air president.

The airline says it does not plan staff changes and the carrier will continue to operate normally.

Island Air has added its first ATR 72, and has said it expects to operate seven of the type by end-2013. It was a Bombardier Dash 8-100 operator but will phase these out by June, it has said. The carrier employs 245 staff.