Staffing cuts coming to Mokulele

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today Passengers Ann and Joe Carter check in with Mokulele Airlines with Patsy Anakalea on Tuesday at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport.

KAILUA-KONA — A week after it was announced Mokulele Airlines was acquired by a Mississippi-based airline and an affirmation that company would keep all of Mokulele’s current employees, those employees on Wednesday received news of a 10 percent reduction in staffing.

The notice, sent to employees by Rob McKinney, president of Pacific operations for Southern Airways Express, said the reductions “are a one-time cut required to ‘right-size’ our staffing.”


Keith Sisson, chief marketing officer for Southern Airways, said via telephone Wednesday evening that layoffs were not in the original plans.

“As we got to be more familiar with the operation, the overstaffing became a more obvious problem,” he said.

He also said there won’t be a reduction in flights.

On Feb. 12, Southern Airways announced its acquisition of Mokulele Airlines. McKinney said at the time that all employees would be kept and no change in name or branding was expected.

Mokulele was founded in 1994 and runs 787 departures weekly. The airline flies in to and out of destinations on Hawaii Island, Oahu, Maui, Lanai and Molokai, as well as between Imperial/El Centro, Calif., and Los Angeles.

Kailua-Kona and Waimea are among the communities out of which Mokulele Airlines flies.


On Wednesday, McKinney confirmed to employees the news of the 10 percent staffing reduction, calling it one of a number of efforts underway to “bring Mokulele to profitability.”

Email Cameron Miculka at

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