Island Air Signs Purchase Agreement for up to Six Planes – Looking to Expand

Bombardier Aerospace announced today that Hawaii Island Air, Inc. (Island Air) has placed a firm order for two Q400 NextGen turboprop airliners and has also taken options for four additional Q400 NextGen aircraft. The aircraft will be delivered with a dual-class, 71-seat configuration. Island Air is Hawaii’s leading regional airline and second oldest carrier.

Q400 NextGen turboprop

Inside a Q400 NextGen turboprop

Based on the list price of the Q400 NextGen airliner, the firm order is valued at approximately $60.9 million US. The value could increase to $188 million US should Island Air exercise all its options.

“As part of our ongoing restructuring and expansion strategy, the Island Air team considered a number of aircraft and we are pleased to announce the selection of the Q400 NextGen turboprop. With its superior speed, performance and fuel efficiency; outstanding operational flexibility; and market-leading passenger comfort, the Q400 NextGen aircraft is the optimal solution for our needs,” said Paul Casey, President and Chief Executive Officer, Island Air.

“We are pleased to partner with Bombardier as Island Air moves to redefine regional travel within the Hawaiian Islands and offer our passengers the premium product they expect. The Q400 NextGen aircraft is clearly the most suitable airliner for Island Air and will provide a superior passenger experience coupled with unbeatable performance. My experience with Bombardier over the years has been nothing but positive which has further led to our selection of the Q400 NextGen aircraft for the next chapter of Island Air,” said Island Air’s owner, Larry Ellison.

“We are proud to welcome Island Air back to the Bombardier family and we are excited to see the Q400 NextGen airliner take to Hawaiian skies,” said Ryan DeBrusk, Regional Vice President, Sales, Americas, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The Q400 NextGen aircraft with its superior passenger comfort and market-leading performance characteristics will serve Island Air well as it embarks on its re-fleeting strategy.”

“The Q400 NextGen aircraft is designed to respond to the needs of an evolving market and our growing customer base shows that the aircraft is creating excellent value for operators and meeting a wide variety of business requirements. This operational flexibility maximizes the profit potential of the aircraft and positions it well ahead of competitive aircraft,” said Ray Jones, Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Asset Management, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “I’m delighted that Island Air has chosen to re-join the Bombardier family and I wish the airline much success in its future ventures.” Island Air currently offers flights to and from the islands of Oahu, Maui, Lanai and Kauai.

Giant King Grass Being Grown in Hawaii – Grass Could Become Source of Electricity for Entire Island of Lanai

Viaspace Inc. has announced that its proprietary dedicated energy crop, Giant King Grass, is now growing in Hawaii.

“Hawaii has the highest electricity rates of any US state because their electricity is mostly generated from expensive imported oil,” said Viaspace CEO Carl Kukkonen. “Hawaii’s electric rates range from 30 cents to 40 cents per kilowatt hour depending on the cost of oil. This is two or three times the cost of electricity on the U.S. mainland.  Bioelectricity from Giant King Grass is substantially cheaper than oil generated electricity and has much lower carbon emissions.  In addition, the large military presence on Hawaii has requirements for liquid biofuels for aircraft and ships. We believe that Hawaii should be an important part of the Viaspace U.S. strategy.”

Giant King Grass was released from quarantine by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services for Distribution in the U.S. in 2012.

Giant King Grass was released from quarantine by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services for Distribution in the U.S. in 2012.

Previously, Viaspace announced that Giant King Grass has been released from quarantine by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for distribution in the United States.  Hawaii, however, has additional plant import rules, and the Giant King Grass is being grown in a facility under the purview of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

Kukkonen personally supervised the planting in Hawaii and met with Department of Agriculture officials as well as with potential Giant King Grass customers in Hawaii., “The climate in Hawaii is ideal for Giant King Grass,” Kukkonen said. “There are substantial tracts of land available on different Hawaiian Islands that were previously used to grow sugarcane and pineapple.  These are lying fallow now and can be used for energy crop production.”

“Giant King Grass can also become an important part of the tourism industry which is crucial for Hawaii’s economy. Not only can Giant King Grass provide clean electricity for hotels and resorts, visiting the Giant King Grass plantations and co-located green power plants can become one of the islands’ tourist attractions like visits to the sugar and pineapple plantations.   Giant King Grass could become the source of electricity for the entire island of Lanai—recently purchased by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison—and make it one of the world’s first green resort destinations.  This concept is not unique to Hawaii and applies to many islands and nations with tropical climates that depend on oil for their electricity. For these applications, Giant King Grass generated electricity is significantly cheaper, continuously renewable and green.”

“The Giant King Grass now growing in Hawaii was provided by the VIASPACE nursery in California, “Viaspace Board Chairman Kevin Schewe said. “We have recently shipped GKG seedlings from California for projects with three other customers and…Kukkonen is currently out of the country and personally supervising planting of GKG with one of these new customers. We are anxious to announce these projects and are respecting our clients’ internal timelines and needs in this regard. We have graduated from an R&D company and are busy executing our business strategy on a global scale.”