Hawaiian Airlines starts new neighbor island all-cargo service

Hawaiian Airlines announced Monday a new all-cargo service between the Honolulu, Lihue, Kauai, and Hilo airports, with shipments of supplies to aid recovery efforts for those affected by the Kilauea lava flow and the flooding on Kauai.

The new cargo fleet consists of two ATR-72 planes, with an additional two expected to be added in 2019.

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One of the new planes carried 1,815 pounds of furniture to Hilo International Airport on Monday to be used for micro-homes built by Hope Services Hawaii to house residents displaced by the lower Puna eruption. The flight also carried 23 boxes of school supplies en route to Pahoa Elementary School that were donated by Hawaiian Airlines employees.

A second plane was loaded with 1,020 pounds of construction tools to Lihue Airport for Kauai Habitat for Humanity to repair low-income homes damaged by the severe storms that struck the island in April.

The furniture and tools were donated by Hawaiian Airlines and Oahu hardware store City Mill.

“My grandfather liked to quote an old Chinese saying: ‘When you drink water, remember the source,’” said City Mill president Steven Ai in a statement. “Our success comes from the community and even though we’re not on the islands of Kauai or the Big Island, we believe we need to help all those who live in the state of Hawaii.”

The new cargo service will complement the airline’s existing transpacific cargo flights and interisland express shipment services.

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“We are excited to offer our customers a ‘one-stop shop’ for all their cargo needs,” said Brad Matheny, Hawaiian Airlines’ managing director of cargo services, in a statement. “The ATR-72 is the perfect aircraft to get the job done and symbolizes our continued dedication to our community as Hawaii’s hometown carrier.”

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.