Southern Airways Express (9X, Memphis Int'l) is expecting the delivery in Hawaii in late April 2022 of the first of two S340Bs to be taken into service by its subsidiary Mokulele Airlines (MHO, Kona), according to Chief Marketing Officer Keith Sisson.

He told Airline Geeks the first aircraft recently had been repainted in the airline's livery and would undergo conformity tests and route proving runs at the company's Du Bois, Pennsylvania maintenance base. "We are hoping to bring it across the ocean [to Hawai'i] in late April," he said.

As reported, the Saabs are being leased from Miami-based lessor Jetstream Aviation Capital representing the first 30-seater type to be added to the fleet. Sisson said the aircraft - N334CJ (msn 334) and N679PA (msn 345) - would be re-registered as N95SA and N79SA respectively.

To start with, only two of the type would be based in Hawaii, but this could change if tourism recovered enough. "We will be starting with two Saabs. We think it will give us plenty of lift to meet the demand. As international visitors return, we are prepared to increase this investment, if needed," he said.

Southern Airways Express had initially sought to deploy 19-seater Beech 1900Ds in Hawaii, but Sisson explained the bigger Saab (Sweden) aircraft were chosen to supplement Mokulele's nine-seater Cessna (single turboprop) 208 Caravan schedule. "In addition to scheduled flying, they will provide needed lift for local sports charters. There is not enough demand on the smaller islands for large aircraft on a daily basis. There are only about two peak travel times during the week. These aircraft will supplement our Caravan schedule during those times. We looked at a dozen available 1900s, and we just couldn't locate any that were up to our standards. On the contrary, the Saabs we acquired are in "flagship" condition," he said.