Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with airframe manufacturer Airbus to acquire 16 new A321neo aircraft between 2017 and 2020, with rights to purchase an additional nine aircraft.
The long-range, single-aisle aircraft will complement Hawaiian’s existing fleet of wide-body, twin-aisle aircraft used for long-haul flying between Hawai’i and the U.S. West Coast.
“Everyone at Hawaiian wants us to keep our position as the market leader in service quality, cost efficiency and choice of destinations. Ordering the A321neo will secure this legacy on routes to the U.S. West Coast beyond the middle of this decade,” said Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines. “The A321neo will be the most fuel-efficient aircraft of its type after its introduction in 2016. With its slightly smaller size we’ll be able to open new markets that are not viable for wide-body service, while also being able to augment service on existing routes to the West Coast of North America.”
At 146-feet-long, the A321neo will seat approximately 190 passengers in a two-class configuration (First and Coach) and has a range of 3,650 nautical miles. The aircraft will offer the more comfortable seat widths found in the twin-aisle Airbus A330. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, however, the aircraft have a total list-price value of approximately $2.8 billion if all of the purchase rights are exercised.
The new acquisitions are also contingent upon Hawaiian signing new agreements with its pilots and flight attendant unions covering operation of the new aircraft type. If new agreements are reached, the fleet expansion is expected to generate roughly 1,000 additional jobs at Hawaiian.
“This is a significant investment in the future of both Hawaiian and Hawai’i. Our tourism-based economy and local employment will benefit as we continue our strategy of diversifying our business while improving the efficiency of our operation,” Dunkerley commented.
“We have come to think of Hawaiian Airlines as ‘ohana’ (family) and are very pleased to add yet another branch to our tree with this pending expansion of the Hawaiian Airbus fleet,” said John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, customers. “Hawaiian has gotten great results with their A330s. The passengers, the employees and the accountants for the airline all recognize the advantages of Airbus aircraft, and now they will benefit even further by flying the most popular single-aisle family in the sky.”
Hawaiian currently operates a fleet of 43 aircraft, comprised of 25 wide-body, long-haul aircraft (294-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft and 264-seat Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft), and 18 narrow-body 123-seat Boeing 717-200 aircraft for Neighbor Island flights.
Hawaiian’s existing orders include an additional 13 new A330s between 2013 and 2015, and six next-generation, longer-range A350XWB-800 aircraft starting in 2017. The existing fleet of 16 Boeing 767s will phase out over the next 10 years.
Image: Hawaiian Airlines.