Island Air, a Honolulu-based carrier with a handful of island-hopping planes that Ellison bought in February, confirmed discussions between Island and Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group, the parent company of Hawaii's interisland go! Airlines. Honolulu's Star-Advertiser newspaper reported that Ellison was arranging to take control of go! Airlines, citing an unnamed source familiar with the deal.
Island Air Chief Executive Officer Paul Casey said that Ellison was committed to building a strong regional airline and part of that process is exploring all options including discussions with Mesa Air. Mesa flies 40 flights a day in Hawaii using a fleet of five 50-seat CRJ-200 jets.
A deal for Island Air to purchase go! would not only secure more flights for Ellison's island of Lanai, but also could indicate that Ellison intends to become a player in the Hawaiian airline market.