Yesterday Hawaiian Air announced its intent to acquire between 16 and 25 new Airbus long range, single-isle A321neo’s for airline flights to Hawaii. Deliveries are still 4 years off at this point, but the company’s intentions are nonetheless clear. And this is definitely good news for Hawaii vacation deals.
Prediction: this may also be great news for mainland flights to Kauai, so read on.
84 year old Hawaiian intends to compete head on with up and coming Hawaii players Alaska Air and Allegiant Air, as well as the potential new kid on the block Southwest Airlines in the all-important west coast markets. And they intend to do so with the industry’s latest planes offering the greatest flexibility.
The agreement for the new aircraft is pending approval of Hawaiian Airlines pilots and flight attendants. Once completed, up to 1,000 additional jobs will be created.
A321neo distinguishing features
3,650 mile range. The new 190 seat 2-cabin Airbus 321neo puts within range cities up to 1,000 miles inland from the west coast. That is distinguishing inasmuch as the Alaska (and Southwest) 737 fleet is not cable of going significantly beyond the west coast.
Efficienty of scale. The A321 features cockpit operational commonality with Hawaiian’s other Airbus planes, which results in reduced training requirements and greater crew productivity.
Short field operations. While no details were available at this time, we believe the new planes are configurable with a short runway performance package, in order to serve airports such as Lihue Kauai with its 6,500 foot field. Hawaiian has been at a disadvantage without aircraft to serve the popular garden island directly. That’s provided the opening for competitor Alaska Air to take up Kauai service from up and down the Pacific Coast.
Boeing replacement. The A321 is sometimes referred to in the industry as a replacement for now aging Boeing 757’s. Hawaiian had previously considered acquiring 757’s to serve more airports and those with smaller demand. The A321neo is uses up to 17% less fuel per passenger when compared with 757, with more engine thrust, quiet new interior and improved galleys. It is a great fit where the 294 seat larger Airbus isn’t financially or physically viable.
Hawaiian Air fleet today
Hawaiian Air currently has a 43 aircraft livery comprised of the following:
- 9 294-seat Airbus A330-200.
- 16 264-seat Boeing 767-300 (this fleet is to be retired).
- 18 123-seat Boeing 717-200 aircraft used for inter-island.
Future Hawaiian Air fleet additions may open Europe
In addition to this most recent announcement, the company has plans to acquire the following:
- 13 more A330-200 over the next three years for domestic and international service.
- 6 A350XWB-800 aircraft set to enter service starting in 2017. These 270 passenger, largely carbon fiber-reinforced polymer planes, are capable of serving cities as far away as Europe non-stop from Hawaii.
- 2 ATR-42 turboprop inter-island aircraft through a new subsidiary. This will allow Hawaiian to return service to Molokai and Lanai and could also be used on other routes. Look to see more of these going forward.