- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - Island Air will no longer offer service to Lanai, a move that comes two months after billionaire Larry Ellison sold his majority stake in the airline to an investor group led by a Hawaii venture capitalist.

The state’s second-largest airline said Tuesday that it would offer its final flights to Lanai on March 31. The 11 staff members based on the island will have the chance to transfer elsewhere within the company, Island Air officials said.

“It was a difficult decision,” airline CEO Les Murashige said. “However, as Island Air continues to restructure, we are taking a hard look at all of the destinations we serve and where our resources are best deployed.”

Ellison, who founded Oracle Corp., bought Island Air in February 2013 and sold a controlling interest in the company in January to two investment groups managed by Honolulu-based venture capitalist Jeffrey Au. The U.S. Department of Transportation approved the deal last month.

Ohana by Hawaiian will be the only airline offering regular service to Lanai starting in April.

Some state lawmakers representing the island said they were disappointed in Island Air’s decision. Sen. J. Kalani English said he was concerned about residents who depend on flights for business and medical care.

Rep. Lynn DeCoite echoed those concerns, saying she also was worried about the effect on ticket costs.

The move comes as Island Air prepares to resume service to Kauai on March 15 after stopping flights there in 2014.

Customers who bought tickets to or from Lanai for April 1 or later can get a full refund or have their reservation transferred to another airline.

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