Mokulele Airlines moving Santa Maria flights from LAX to Burbank

Move being made to attract more passengers

Mokulele Airlines moving flights from Santa Maria to Burbank

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Mokulele Airlines is on the move. Less than a year after arriving at the Santa Maria Public Airport, the airline is making a major change with its route.

Starting next month, the Hawaii-based airline will no longer provide service from Santa Maria to Los Angeles.

On Thursday, Mokulele announced it will reroute Southern California service from the Santa Maria away from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Hollywood Burbank Airport.

In a press release, the company said the move was being made for a number of reasons.

The airline stated the new destination will provide travelers will a better overall experience.

Most notably, it focused on what it feels will be an increased reliability with flight times, noting there have been significant delays at LAX this past year.

Other reasons listed for the change include, improved customer service, easier connectivity to other flights and better baggage handling.

"This new route will greatly facilitate our operations from Santa Maria to the LA area and assure all our passengers a reliable safe alternative to these destinations in California," said Mokulele president Rob McKinney in a statement.

The hope for both the airline and the Santa Maria Public Airport is the switch will increase ridership with the flight.

Right now, Mokulele operates two daily flights between Santa Maria and LAX with a nine-seat Grand Cessna Caravan.

Often times, the hour-plus long flight is half-full.

On Thursday afternoon, the flight to LAX included only four passengers.

To help facilitate the change, financial support from the Santa Maria Public Airport District is being increased.

The airport Board of Directors last month approved $250,000 in assistance directed towards the airline.

The amount brings the total Mokulele has received from the airport to just under a million dollars.

Initially, financial support totaling $500,000 was given to the airline last year.

It was increased another $225,000 this past March, and now $250,000 more last month.

The recently rebranded Hollywood Burbank Airport, which was formerly known as the Bob Hope Airport, is serviced by six commercial airlines.

Together, the airlines fly to 10 different non-stop destinations, most of them in the western United States, but also other cities, including New York City and Dallas.

However, unlike LAX, the airport does not provide international service.

Still, officials at both Mokulele and the Santa Maria airport believe the change can provide a much needed boost to their combined effort to attract more travelers.

Mokulele also provides California service between the Imperial/El Centro airport and LAX. The company said it will continue that route at this time.

Final details for the new Santa Maria to Burbank route still need to be worked out before the deal becomes official.

As the two sides continue negotiations, the airline has targeted Sept. 7 as the start date.



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