Kahului official: Airline delays, cancellations may persist for weeks
With flight cancellations from COVID-related staff shortages continuing across the country, Kahului Airport is seeing similar trends and officials predict it may persist for weeks.
Maui Airports District Manager Marvin Moniz reported that Kahului Airport had at least seven cancellations Monday across Hawaiian, United and Alaska airlines, all of which were related to COVID-19 staffing shortages. WestJet also had a cancellation, but it was not related to COVID-19, he said.
“Unlike the Mainland, where they can send you on other routes if a flight is canceled — here, if you cancel, you cancel, and that’s it,” Moniz said.
Coinciding with the rise in omicron cases, interisland and trans-Pacific flight cancellations have been climbing throughout the state over the holidays and into the new year. Nationally, reports show hundreds of flights canceled and delayed as staff exposures or illnesses force time off.
Amy Wetmore was on Oahu visiting family for the holidays and planned a day trip to Maui on Sunday. She found out her early-morning flight was canceled when she was heading to the airport.
“The message I received didn’t provide an explanation on why but I was told to call so I could reschedule on a different flight,” Wetmore said today. “I ultimately decided not to go through with the day trip because I worried about my return flight also getting canceled last minute and feared being stuck there.”
With the last few days of inclement weather on Oahu, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai, Mokulele Airlines was also forced to shutter flights.
“We did have a handful of cancels on Sunday and Monday that were due to the weather system that passed through Molokai and Oahu,” Keith Sisson, Mokulele spokesman, said today. “Each of those airports had weather holds that resulted in our crew reaching the end of their duty days and not being able to complete all of the flights when the weather lifted.”
He added that Mokulele has not had any COVID-related cancellations. In fact, the airline added close to 80 roundtrip flights to service Molokai and Lanai over the holiday travel period.
Moniz said officials are predicting that Hawaii may still be weeks away from the peak of the surge. Until cases level off, he advised that people track their flights through flight tracker technology, such as FlightAware and Flightradar24.
“No sense you rush over here to sit down four or five hours,” he said. “Call your airline or go online to find out about your flight.”