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Northern Air Cargo to discharge 18 pilots on Hawaii route

Airline operates 767 freighter for Aloha Air Cargo

An Aloha Air Cargo 767 cargo jet takes off from Los Angeles International Airport. Friday is the last day Aloha will operate a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu. (Photo: Shutterstock/Michael Gordon)

Northern Air Cargo will furlough 18 pilots as a result of its recent decision to close down the route between Los Angeles and Honolulu operated on behalf of sister airline Aloha Air Cargo, according to a company official.

FreightWaves reported three weeks ago that Aloha Air Cargo would stop the freighter service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Hawaii’s capital, effective June 1, because of weak demand on a highly competitive traffic lane.

Northern Air Cargo (NAC) and Aloha Air Cargo are subsidiaries of Saltchuk Resources, a diversified freight transportation, logistics and energy distribution holding company based in Seattle. Saltchuk’s leasing subsidiary, NAS Aircraft Leasing Co. LLC, recently acquired two Boeing 767-300 aircraft after they were retrofitted as cargo aircraft. NAS parked them because of the slow freight business in key markets where affiliated airlines are located.

April Spurlock, director of marketing and communications for Saltchuk Aviation, said Northern Air Cargo will put 18 pilots with less seniority on unpaid leaves of absence at the end of the week because of the LAX lane closure.


Aloha Air Cargo continues to transport freight and mail among the Hawaiian Islands using five Boeing 737-300 converted freighters and one 737-400.

Northern Air Cargo’s primary service area is Alaska. Saltchuk Aviation also includes Miami-based StratAir, an air logistics provider that charters capacity from NAC.

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One Comment

  1. Holden Caulfield

    Your headline is not correct. The pilots are not being discharged, they are being furloughed. And there are not 18 pilots being furloughed from the HNL base only. Few will be furloughed from the HNL 767 base. Most will be furloughed from Aloha’s 737, and MIA 767 base.

    Now you know more than most of NAC’s employees.

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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals and a Silver Medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government and trade coverage, and news analysis. He was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He won Environmental Journalist of the Year from the Seahorse Freight Association in 2014 and was the group's 2013 Supply Chain Journalist of the Year. In December 2022, Eric was voted runner up for Air Cargo Journalist by the Seahorse Freight Association. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. He has appeared on Marketplace, ABC News and National Public Radio to talk about logistics issues in the news. Eric is based in Vancouver, Washington. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]