Report: Oracle's Ellison to buy Hawaii commuter airline following purchase of island of Lanai

After buying 97 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lanai last year, billionaire Larry Ellison is now finalizing a deal to buy a small Hawaii commuter airline that makes daily trips to Lanai, according to a report in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper.

The newspaper cited two anonymous sources saying that the Oracle CEO will buy the turboprop airline that represents 5 percent of Hawaii’s interisland air market and typically makes five flights per day to Lanai.

Ellison already owns Lanai’s two major resorts — The Lodge at Koele and the Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay — and adding an airline to his Hawaii holdings would provide a convenient way to shuttle high-end tourists from Honolulu on the island of Oahu, the site of Hawaii’s primary airport.

Island Air announced last week that it had a preliminary agreement to be sold to an undisclosed buyer, according to the Star-Advertiser.

Island Air spokesman Michael Rodyniuk told the newspaper that its buyer has “demonstrated to us to be financially fit. By reputation, these folks are very well financed.”

The CEO of Island Air, Lesley Kaneshiro, stepped down on Dec. 31 and is now vice president of finance for Ellison’s Lanai Resorts, the Star-Advertiser reported.

The sale price for Ellison to buy nearly all of Lanai from fellow billionaire David Murdoch has not been disclosed.

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Dan Nakaso returned home to San Jose to help tell the story of Silicon Valley and the people who keep the Valley humming.