Santa Maria airport recruits possible new airline from Hawaii

hawaii-airlineSanta Maria Public Airport officials are in the process of recruiting new airlines.

Just four weeks ago, United Airlines announced it will stop service in October in Santa Maria after a decrease in passengers. Allegiant Airlines is the only other option, and only flies to Las Vegas. Now, Mokulele Airlines based in Kona, Hawaii may soon be offering regular commuter flights from Santa Maria to LAX.

Now, Mokulele airlines, a family-owned and operated airline based in Kona, is in final negotiations with the Santa Maria airport.

“Since we already operate in and out of LAX, we’ve determined that it would be a good fit for us, so we are continuing the talks and starting to plan the logistics of setting up the service for Santa Maria into LAX,” said Mokulele President Rob McKinney.

The planes are made in the U.S. and are still in current production. Each plane weighs around 10,000 pounds, will be staffed with two pilots and can hold nine passengers.

“Because of that we are able to offer more frequency. Most days we are planning on offering four round trips a day between Santa Maria and LAX,” said McKinney.

“Well, I think it’s an extra convenience. I fly two or three times a week and I have clients here out on the West Coast, so the ability to have another destination to get to Los Angeles is going to be fantastic for me,” said Brad Drew, a traveler from Miami.

“Well, it’s something to link us to other places a lot quicker and faster than going to Vegas, so it will probably be worthwhile,” said Bill Santmyer, a traveler from Santa Maria.

According to Mokulele, round-trip flights will be priced as low as $130.

“We have a great reliability and on-time record. We complete over 99 percent of our scheduled flights and we are on time over 94 percent of the time, so people can rely on us, people can afford us,” said McKinney.

Pets always fly free on Mokulele Airlines. There is no additional charge as long as they are with you and are well behaved.

There is no official start date for Mokulele flights to begin. However, the airline president said they hope to close the gap of service in the fall when United Airlines leaves Santa Maria, October 5.

Santa Maria Public Airport Director Chris Hastert, said they are also in the process of setting up meetings with American, Delta, Alaska and SkyWest Airlines.