Oracle billionaire sold controlling interest in his Hawaiian Island Air

By Staff Writer

Jan 09, 2016 03:27 AM EST

Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison sold a controlling interest of his Hawaiian budget airline Island Air.

Business Insider reported that Island Air offers affordable flights for people traveling the Islands of Oahu, Maui, and Lanai. Ellison bought Lanai in 2012 with the plan to turn it into an archetype of sustainable living, vacationing, and agriculture. Since then, he has renovated hotels and resorts in the island. He bought the second best inter-island carrier to bring more visitors into the island.

Reports of the sale was first reported in Hawaii News Now last week. It reported that Ellison rejected bids from Hawaiian CEOs Bruce Nobles and Paul Casey. Airline industry historian Peter Forman said, "I'm not surprised that Larry Ellison's people would be considering selling Island Air because their strategy did not work."

According to the report the carrier lost some $40 million since its 2013 acquisition by Ellison.

Meanwhile Biz Journals wrote that Ellison's Ohana Airline Holdings LLC will sell a controlling interest of Island Air to investment funds PaCap Aviation Finance LLC and Malama Investments LLC, which are both run by venture capital investment company PacifiCap. The US Department of Transportation is yet to give regulatory approval to the sale.

"We are thrilled with the opportunity to partner with Mr. Ellison and his team to create a strong second airline for Hawaii," said PacifiCap founder and managing director Jeffrey Au. "Like Hawaii itself, we may not be big, but we can be great. We believe that having local owners and managers will allow us to provide the kind of reliability, seat availability and service that our fellow kamaaina deserve."

Ohana Airline Holdings will still have a non-controlling interest in the airline and will work with the new owners for future expansions. Island Air will have a transition team that consists of CEO Dave Pflieger, its executive Les Murashige, and Au. 

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