Island hopping

Mokulele plane landing at Kona

Honolulu AirportIn Hawaii, it’s not unusual for people to commute between islands. Many medical professionals are based in Honolulu, but have offices on the Big Island which they visit on a weekly basis. The same can be said for other professionals: lawyers, scientists, engineers and the like. Politicians and government officials go back and forth on a regular basis.

But it’s not just professionals. Skilled tradespeople might work on any of the islands, commuting on a daily or weekly basis. Highway construction crews likewise move from island to island depending on where and what projects are being worked on. Musicians and other artists are regular island hoppers. The list goes on.

There’s one mode of transport for all these people and that’s air travel. There are no inter-island ferries. The Hawaii Superferry operated from 2007 to 2009 but was suspended when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that a second environmental impact statement was required. One concern with a ferry is the increased risk of spreading invasive species and diseases of plants and animals.

Hawaiian Airlines is the biggest operator in the islands, with the lion’s share of the inter-island business. It operates from its hub in Honolulu, but also offers direct flights between the other islands. The second photo shows the distinctive tails of a couple of its planes at Honolulu Airport.

Smaller airlines have also offered inter-island routes. These include Aloha Airlines, Go! Airlines and Island Air. These three ceased business in 2008, 2014, and 2017 respectively. Currently, the only other island airline is Mokulele Airlines, though it doesn’t fly to Kauai. They service some smaller airports and operate smaller planes such as the one above, coming in to land at Kona Airport.

Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge is on the theme of ‘Transportation or Commute.’ (More responses here.)

9 thoughts on “Island hopping

    1. Graham Post author

      It’s sort of weird to be in the middle of the ocean and yet rely on aircraft rather than boats for getting about, but the potential for spreading invasive species is indeed great.

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  1. Terri Webster Schrandt

    Interesting information about inter-island travel, Graham! I almost posted a pic of the Hawaii “tail” but the others took precedent! When we flew to the BI in January, we had actually missed our Alaska flight due to long lines in the San Diego airport. We managed to get another one a couple of hours later, but stopped in Honolulu then took a smaller Hawaiian airlines hopper to the BI. A 40-minute flight and very doable, and I didn’t mind our quick layover in Oahu…my hubby hadn’t been there yet. But in terms of transportation, we lost almost a day on the BI, hoping to have spent most of that day exploring the Kona side. I like your photo of the Hawaiian Airlines planes from the perspectives of the palms 🙂

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    1. Graham Post author

      Thanks Terri. What a pain to miss your flight, but I imagine more and more people do these days with all the security. I saw a story just today about someone chasing their plane down the runway! I like the palms, too. Kona Airport is even better with its grass roofed gates, but sadly they’re on their way out, I think, as the airport undergoes ‘improvements.’

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        1. Graham Post author

          Since I rarely fly anywhere, I doubt I’ll be much affected. But I suspect that when the remodel is done, the airport will be more like every other airport on Earth, which is not a good thing in my book.

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