Friendly Service In The Sky

By Scott Durgin
Wednesday - September 02, 2009
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By Scott Durgin
CEO of Mokulele Airlines

In a recent in-flight survey, one of our passengers, Christy Koizumi from Kauai, told us that she loved the friendly service of Mokulele staff as much as the fact that her pet flew free with her!

People like Christy remind us all the time that, in the airline business, you can never lose sight of the fact that it is all about the people, those who serve and those who are served: the dedicated, well-trained crew that keeps the planes flying, those who make sure passengers are comfortable and safe, and the customers who trust us to keep providing an affordable, high-quality travel experience.

Beyond the travel experience is the impact we know we, as a business, have on the economic and social fabric of the Islands. We employ more than 200 people locally. Multiply that by the families who benefit from one member’s paycheck and you have a sense of the ripple effect of the airline business. We derive some measure of satisfaction from the knowledge that by running a viable business we are contributing to the health of the economy. Keeping families and businesses connected is an important part of our role as a local carrier.

We believe it’s important to give people a choice - and never more so than when they are hurting, as too many are now.

Earlier this year, Republic Airways took a majority stake in Mokulele Airlines. That has allowed us to draw on Republic’s experience and resources to keep Mokulele Airlines’ interis-land service viable and affordable. It is important to remember that competition contributes to attractive fares. The loyalty of our customers helps ensure when it comes to interisland travel, they have options. Thoughtful policy-making on the part of elected officials, state and county bureaucracies also can help ensure a climate in which competition thrives and the consumer benefits. We want to be able to keep giving local travelers and visitors to these stunningly beautiful Islands a way of getting to know the Islands in comfort and style without breaking the bank. We are learning that people already living here are telling others that Mokulele is a great way to island-hop. And those from farther away are finding us through Expedia, Travelocity and through our codeshare arrangement with Alaska Airlines. The various interline ticketing and baggage agreements we have forged with strong partners such as Qantas, United and Continental, and our marketing agreement with WestJet also have been helpful to visitors.

Mokulele Airlines’ (from left) Noa Kamanawa, Cy Shimamoto, Jason Dungan, Roxanne Onuma, Josh Hamilton, Vanessa Toribio, Scott Durgin and Chris VanDenHeuvel

Personally, coming here from Indianapolis, in what is often regarded as America’s heartland, I have found myself learning to look at things from the perspective of doing business in the 50th state. I have felt the strong sense of a very interconnected community here that is deeply rooted in Hawaiian and other local cultures. The loyalty and the goodwill we have enjoyed from the community tell us that our corporate values are standing us in good stead. We are confident that authenticity and integrity are quickly discerned by customers weary of being short-changed by businesses hell-bent on success at any cost. We’re here to stay and respect for the community and its needs is fundamental to how we do business.

That’s a pledge.

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