POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 11, 2011
KaiserAir Inc. -- which primarily operates, services and maintains corporate and privately owned aircraft -- has received federal clearance to fly twice-weekly charters between Oakland, Calif., and Kona.
The Oakland-based company operated its first flight yesterday to Kona under a contract with a Big Island homeowners group, Kona Associates. Round-trip flights are scheduled for Thursdays and Sundays.
KaiserAir, which is leasing a 60-seat Boeing 737-700, said it simultaneously received Federal Aviation Administration certification to operate an aircraft with a minimum of 30 seats and to operate an aircraft over water.
Previously, Kaiser provided the management for similar Oakland-Kona flights, but they were operated by Miami Air.
Kona Associates comprises residents of three luxury resort communities on the Big Island: Kukio, Hualalai and Mauna Lani. "Members are eligible only by personal invitation; there will be no advertisements, mailings or mass solicitations," according to KaiserAir's application with the U.S. Department of Transportation. "All three communities are of the same caliber."
There are about 90 members of Kona Associates, and they pay dues to fund the shuttle operation. Seats on the shuttle are available only to members and their families, household staff and invited guests.
"As only the second Oakland home-based air carrier in Oakland's airport history, KaiserAir looks forward to providing additional air carrier services to the market," KaiserAir President Ronald Guerra said.
KaiserAir was established in 1946 by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, according to the company's website. Henry Kaiser developed Hawaii Kai and built what is now the Hilton Hawaiian Village. "He was a perfectionist, who instilled standards of excellence that infuse our corporate culture today," the website says.
Kaiser Industries made Oakland its in-house aircraft base in 1955. KaiserAir established a second home base at Charles M. Schultz Sonoma County Airport in 2008.
Sandy Waters, KaiserAir vice president of business development, said the company has a fleet of 14 aircraft but just one Boeing 737-700. The others are corporate jets that seat 19 or fewer, he said.