Ellison entity buys Island Air

A newly formed holding company owned by billionaire Larry Ellison, who also owns most of Lanai, has purchased small interisland airline Island Air.

The terms of sale, announced Tuesday afternoon, to Ohana Airline Holdings LLC were not disclosed.

There are no planned staff changes at the airline with 245 employees, and Island Air will continue its operations as usual while developing plans for additional planes, routes and services, a news release announcing the sale said.

“The sale secures the future of Island Air and its employees,” the news release said.

All current tickets will be honored and all Cloud9 members will retain their status and benefits.

Island Air is a regional carrier with 224 weekly flights serving airports on Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kauai and the Big Island. On Maui, Island Air flies to Kahului and Kapalua West Maui airports.

“This is another major investment and commitment to Hawaii,” said Paul Marinelli, vice president of Lawrence Investments LLC, another company owned by Ellison. “We understand the critical importance of transportation in an island state, and we will ensure that Island Air strengthens its role, capacity and service to the people of Hawaii.

“We recognize the need for providing options for travelers, and we believe Island Air has tremendous potential to deliver value to both residents and visitors.”

Les Murashige, Island Air president, said that the airline is “excited” that Ellison, chief executive officer of Oracle, has acquired the airline.

“He has the vision and resources to literally take Island Air to new heights,” Murashige said.

He lauded the employees of Island Air for “pulling together over the past year to restructure and position the company for success, and this sale represents the culmination of that process.”

“On behalf of all of us at Island Air, we welcome Mr. Ellison, and we look forward to an exciting future together,” he said.

Forbes magazine named Ellison, who has a fortune estimated at $36 billion, the sixth richest person in the world last year. He purchased about 98 percent of the property on Lanai in June.