Today, in a letter to customers, Hawaiian Airlines’ CEO Peter Ingram addressed many of the issues that we’ve previously noted and also received countless comments about. These include their lack of on-time performance since last year, the problems with their 5-year-old A321neo fleet, and the recent botched upgrade to their reservation system. He also alluded to just how much Hawaiian’s problems have impacted everyone involved.
Contrition is a great step forward in dealing with Hawaiian Airlines’ problems.
Peter said that the past six months have been among the most difficult challenges he’s faced in his 18-year history at the company. Our sense is that the problems have hit the bottom line, and it became necessary for the highly likable head of the company to step forward and speak to all concerned.
Honolulu Airport runway now has no daytime closures.
Ingram said, “With the most impactful phase of the runway project now complete, we have seen real improvement in the reliability of our operation.” That project, under the failed leadership of the Hawaii Department of Transportation/Airports, led to spiraling flight delays. These hurt Hawaiian far more than most other airlines, since Honolulu is its operational base. The airport returned to full daytime operations in late May, after over 8 months of closure of what is its busiest runway.
Honolulu runway 8L wreaked havoc on Hawaii travelers, airline and airport employees, and all of those who transit Hawaii’s airports, even those beyond Honolulu. Everyone was so happy when Hawaii DOT said, “Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) announces the reopening of Runway 8L at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) as of 6 a.m. Saturday, May 27, 2023.”
The runway reconstruction was the second biggest project after the building of the Reef Runway. It included a 1,000 lineal-foot stretch of Portland cement concrete at the threshold of the runway, plus 7,500 lineal feet of polymer-modified asphalt, in addition to new lights and navigational aids.
Hawaiian recovering from IT meltdown.
Peter said today that the company is “seeing steady improvement in the performance of our IT systems.” That comes following the abysmal upgrade of their reservation system to Amadeus in April.
The unexpected meltdown that ensued was something we’d never seen before at Hawaiian. The upgrade resulted in massive delays and the breakdown of online bookings. In addition, their call center was overwhelmed and largely inaccessible.
Some problems remain, and you’ve noted them in your comments. Fare holds disappeared, as did credit card promotions. And that was just for starters.
After all the trials and tribulations, the move to Amadeus will prove to be an excellent one for Hawaiian, and we are beginning to see the fruits of their efforts. Still, there’s more work to do, and that is acknowledged in Peter’s email. We won’t belabor the point.
Hawaiian A321neo engine problems – they aren’t gone. Are they improving?
“We continue to face industry-wide challenges with the availability of spare engines,” said Ingram. Without providing specifics, he said that they are “able to operate more of our fleet on a consistent basis.” It isn’t clear how many of the 5-year-old A321 aircraft are out of service. And to be honest, that may well change on a day-by-day basis as both problems occur and fixes become available. We know that previously, up to 28% of Hawaiian Air’s A321neo fleet was grounded at times, which is very significant. Delta’s CEO said, “These engine problems will remain with us in 2024.” Delta is another large operator of the same A321neo fleet.
It is the Pratt & Whitney (PW) geared turbofan jet engines on the planes that are experiencing unforeseen problems in these new planes. Since these engines are used by a myriad of airlines globally, the problems are very widespread and aren’t specific to Hawaiian. Some have stated that the CFD virtual modeling tools used in the design of these engines may predict problems less reliably than more traditional flight-based testing.
Finally, and perhaps most telling, Peter Ingram addressed the impact that their problems had on many people. He finished up by saying that Hawaiian is “excited to show you how much better we can be for our guests, our employees, and our community.”
We welcome your comments and recent experiences with Hawaiian Airlines.