11 August, 2023

Airlines transport relief supplies to Maui as wildfires claim 55 lives

The wildfires that have spread across Maui have claimed the lives of at least 55 people, local authorities report and the death toll is likely to increase. Governor Josh Green said the inferno that reduced much of Lahaina to smouldering ruins was the worst natural disaster in the state's history, making thousands of people homeless and levelling as many as 1,000 buildings.  

Thousands of locals and tourists were evacuated from the western side of Maui with some taking shelter elsewhere on the island or on Oahu. Many tourists camped in the Kahului Airport, waiting for flights back home.

Alaska Airlines has operated special rescue flights to Maui filled with relief supplies including water, non-perishable food, pillows, blankets, towels, wipes, baby formula and diapers. The aircraft transported passengers back to Seattle. 

The carrier said it was closely monitoring the devastating impacts of the wildfires on Maui and would even be operating unscheduled flights between Maui and Honolulu to move guests off of Maui and bring critical supplies in. 

Our hearts are with those on Maui, and our employees and their families, during this devastating time,” said Daniel Chun, Alaska’s Director of Sales, Community & Public Relations in Hawaii. “We hope we can help bring much-needed care and relief to those who’ve experienced catastrophic loss throughout the community.” 

The airline issued the following advice for passengers with bookings on flights to Hawai'i.   

Traveling to/from Maui 
We are offering a flexible travel policy if you would like to change or cancel your flight to Maui.  

In accordance with emergency orders from the state of Hawai‘i, we’re discouraging guests from non-essential travel to Maui. The flexible travel policy allows guests with planned travel to Maui to change their flight to another Hawaiian island. Alaska serves Honolulu, O‘ahu; Kona, Hawai‘i; and Lฤซhu‘e, Kaua‘i.  

To help the Maui community, for this emergency, we are allowing guests to cancel their reservations and receive a refund to their original form of payment upon request. As always, you can choose to keep the refund in your Account wallet or receive a credit certificate for future travel, but we are doing everything we can to encourage our guests to rethink their trips to the island right now. 

U.S mega-carrier Delta advised it will contribute $250,000 to the American Red Cross to aid in the disaster response and relief efforts in Maui and other areas of Hawaii coping with the destruction caused by recent wildfires brought on by strong winds as a result of Hurricane Dora, a Category 4 hurricane which passed 300 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands.   Most of the fires on Maui are still burning, forcing thousands of residents and tourists to evacuate. the airline advised, however, the carrier was still selling tickets to Maui for travel tomorrow at fares of £1942.   

Hawaiian Airlines

The boss of local hometown carrier of the islands, Hawaiin Airlines, Peter Ingram said:  “This is an incredibly tragic and sad event, and our hearts go out to everyone impacted on Maui and especially those who have lost loved ones. - Our teams across our operation are working tirelessly to help those affected, including our nearly 500 colleagues who call Maui home. We send our deepest condolences to those impacted by the fires and will continue to leverage every resource we have to support the Maui community."

Here’s how Hawaiian Airlines has supported response efforts in the first 24 hours:

Facilitating essential travel

Ran a full schedule of flights in and out of Maui, including nine additional flights scheduled on both the 9th and 10th of August

Made every main cabin seat from Kahului to Honolulu available at $19 through Aug. 14, so costs would not be an obstacle to those needing to leave.

Issued a travel waiver to allow guests with travel to and from Maui scheduled through Aug. 31 flexibility to change or refund flights.


The airline set aside dedicated space on its aircraft to support essential cargo, including life-saving blood and medical supplies, medication, food, water, amenity kits and infrastructure equipment for telecommunications repairs.

Donated and shipped soft goods and catering items, including 300 bottles of Mananalu water, 550 sandwiches, 3,000 snack items, 1,600 amenity kits, mattress pads, lounging pillows and other supplies, for evacuees arriving at Kahului Airport.

Caring for guests and employees

Activated Team Kลkua, Hawaiian’s employee volunteer group, to support guests and staff in Honolulu and Kahului.

Deployed employee members of the Hawaiian Airlines Emergency Assistance Response Team (HEART) to work at the Honolulu Convention Center and other shelter facilities for visitors.

Activated employee support resources for team members on Maui and elsewhere who have been personally affected by these tragic events.

Partnering for relief efforts

Donated seats to first responders, including City and County of Honolulu firefighters to help Maui stations battle the ongoing wildfires.

Nearly 90 million miles (equivalent to 12,000 interisland flights) in joint donation with HawaiianMiles members to the American Red Cross of Hawaii to facilitate travel for volunteers, support personnel and community members in need.