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Oracle’s Ellison buys Island Air, adding to his Hawaii portfolio

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  • Star-Advertiser / 2012

Billionaire Larry Ellison, who bought 97 percent of Lanai in June, is the new owner of Island Air, the inter-island airline confirmed today.

Ellison, the CEO and co-founder of software giant Oracle Corp., completed the sale today. The sales price was not disclosed.

Ellison was not at the news conference to announce the sale. 

Company officials said they will keep the name Island Air and there will be no layoffs.

Island Air announced in January it had a preliminary sale agreement with an undisclosed buyer, and sources told the Star-Advertiser that Ellison was the purchaser.

Island Air, a turboprop carrier with 5 percent of the interisland market, typically flies five flights a day to Lanai. Owning Island Air would ensure a steady stream of visitors to Ellison’s Lanai holdings, including The Lodge at Koele, the Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay, two golf courses and a luxury home development.

Island Air received Federal Aviation Administration certification Sunday of its recently acquired 64-seat ATR 72 turboprop that it calls the future of the airline. It also recently reached new labor contracts with its five unions — pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, stock clerks and dispatchers. The ATR certification and new labor contracts were part of the sale agreement.

The ATR 72 is expected to go into service Wednesday on a Honolulu-Lihue route.

Island Air, which has 245 employees, had given them 60 days’ notice that their employment may end on March 11 due to a change of ownership or shutdown.

Ellison, the co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corp., is listed by Forbes as the third-richest person in America with a net worth of $41 billion.

Ellison has not disclosed what he paid for the 97 percent of Lanai that he bought from fellow billionaire David Murdock, chairman of Dole Food Co.

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