Southern Airways Express (9X, Memphis Int'l) has announced it has acquired Mokulele Airlines (MW, Kona) from current owner, Transpac Aviation, Inc., for an undisclosed sum.

In a US government filing, SAE said that its holding company, Southern Airways Corporation (SAC), had negotiated an agreement with Transpac Aviation, Inc., the holding firm of Mokulele Flight Service (MFS), Inc. d/b/a Mokulele Airlines, whereby Southern Airways Pacific, LLC (SAP), a newly formed subsidiary of SAC, would acquire substantially all of MFS's assets.

MFS said that the transaction closed on February 8, 2019, and that it will continue to operate a preclosing pattern of service until the transfer of MFS’s employees, aircraft, and operations to SAE has been completed.

Upon completion of the transition period, which is expected to take several weeks, MFS will cease to operate and will surrender its DOT and FAA authority for cancellation. For the duration of this transition period, all MFS-operated flights will be wet-leased to SAE with the wet-leased flights held out and sold by SAE under the trade name 'Mokulele Airlines.'

"We’ve looked at several potential acquisitions over the last couple of years,” Stan Little, chairman and CEO of Southern, said in a statement. “This was the first opportunity that I believed to be the perfect complement to operation. We fly the same aircraft type, we have similar operational structures and their assets and revenue streams help diversify our balance sheet. This acquisition will give the newly-combined company stability in an otherwise volatile marketplace while making Southern Airways a nationally-recognized brand.”

Mokulele Airlines operates a fleet of fourteen Cessna (single turboprop) 208B Grand Caravans and two PC-12s on flights covering the Hawaiian archipelago with its only mainland US service being between Los Angeles Int'l and El Centro Imperial Country. The two Pilatus props are used to run Lanai Air-branded flights between Honolulu and Lanai City, Maui, in conjunction with Four Seasons Resorts.

For its part, SAE operates nineteen Cessna Grand Caravan 208Bs and two Piper (twin piston) PA-31s on scheduled flights in the Gulf South, the mid-Atlantic, and South Florida.

SAE said one of its main goals for the expanded company will be to obtain additional interline ticket and baggage agreements with major carriers. Southern currently has interline agreements with American Airlines and Condor, while Mokulele has agreements with Alaska Airlines and Air New Zealand. Expanding those partnerships to include multiple national and global carriers will be the focus post-integration.