In July 1977, RHAS flew its 1 million passenger...with 6 passenger, Cessna 402's. Do the math! That is a lot of flights!
Ka'anapali Airport was certainly a main stay for RHAS. As Maui's northwest coastline hotels grew in capacity, the preferred transport was the scenic direct flights to Ka'anapali.
When Amfac decided to close the airfield on the coast in 1985 and a new West Maui Airport was being discussed which included various exclusions, it was the end for Royal Hawaiian Air Service. It hoped for federal subsidies with an "essential service" status that was not approved and it would not be able to recover.
The staff at RHAS was a very professional group and were all recognized for their efforts. Many pilots got a good start to their career, with others finding flying for RHAS was just what they needed.
I remember the Chief Pilot, Art Phillips moving over to Hemmeter Aviation after RHAS closed to fly Chris Hemmeter in his Rockwell Turbo-Commander. On one occasion Art flew Jimmy Carter to Lihue (another story). After Hemmeter Aviation was sold in 1990, Art went over to fly the Fed-Ex Feeder (Cessna208 Caravan). Many found their way to keep flying in all sorts of aircraft.
In the final days of Royal Hawaiian Air Service, I worked with Robert Haws to recoup money owed to Hemmeter Aviation for fuel at various locations. At the end, there was no money and the doors closed for good.
Read more about RHAS.
ROYAL HAWAIIAN AIR SERVICE
When you look back at the many airlines that served the Hawaiian Islands, Royal Hawaiian Air Service stands out for its ability to serve Hawaii extremely well. From its beginning in Kona, in 1965, they provided a connection to several locations that were not served by Hawaiian and Aloha. The early Cessna 310's and Beech C45 aircraft made way for the Cessna 402's and DeHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otters. The C402' fleet grew to 21 aircraft.