Hawaiian Airlines welcomes its first Airbus A321neo, readies for U.S. West Coast expansion

Hawaiian Airlines on November 16, 2017 welcomed to Honolulu the first of 18 Airbus A321neo aircraft (A321-271N N202HA, msn 7917) that will shortly begin flying between Hawai‘i and the U.S. West Coast. The company’s new fleet of single-aisle aircraft will offer guests non-stop flights to more islands, starting with service to Kaua‘i, Maui, and the Kona Coast on the Island of Hawai‘i.

Hawaiian held a blessing ceremony for its first A321neo, “Maile,” named after a vine native to Hawaii and traditionally used for lei making and celebrations. Fittingly, Hawaiian’s A321neo is adorned with a new livery featuring a silver maile lei wrapping around the fuselage as the carrier’s “Flower of the Sky” Pualani icon gazes forward from the tail of the aircraft.

Hawaiian’s inaugural A321neo flight is scheduled for January 8, 2018 on the carrier’s existing Kahului-Oakland route. New A321neo service between Kahului and Portland will launch on January 18, 2018. Hawaiian’s seasonal summer wide-body service currently offered between Līhu‘e and Oakland will resume April 11, 2018 as a daily A321neo flight. Daily service between Kona and Los Angeles launches March 11, 2018 with wide-body aircraft before converting to the A321neo in the summer.

The mid-range A321neo aircraft will complement Hawaiian’s fleet of long-haul, twin-aisle aircraft used for service between Hawai‘i and 11 U.S. gateway cities, along with 10 international destinations. The airline’s narrow-body Boeing 717 fleet offers approximately 170 flights between the Hawaiian Islands.

The 189-passenger aircraft includes 16 luxurious leather recliners in the Premium Cabin, 45 Extra Comfort premium economy seats, and 128 Economy seats. Textiles and other materials throughout the cabin pay homage to traditional Hawaiian crafts such as bark cloth (kapa) and fishing nets. Other details range from sand-inspired wall panels to Hawaiian language signage and LED mood-lighting evoking Hawaii’s soothing sunrises and sunsets. Guests will enjoy access to wireless streaming entertainment, USB outlets, and additional overhead stowage space.

Powered by Pratt & Whitney PurePowerr® Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) engines and incorporating the latest in aerodynamics, the A321neo is the quietest and most fuel efficient aircraft in its class, leading to 16 percent lower fuel burn and carbon emissions over previous generation aircraft.

Hawaiian’s A321neo flight deck features next-generation communication, navigation and surveillance avionics – including a completely digital low-range altimeter, and transponders and multi-mode receivers that are fully compliant with future airspace mandates – from Rockwell Collins, a pioneer in innovative aviation solutions.

The aircraft also benefits from the company’s MultiScan™ ThreatTrack weather radar, which alerts flight crews of potentially disruptive weather, allowing for smoother flights and more on-time arrivals.

In other news, Hawaiian Airlines also announced the planned retirement of Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive officer (center above), and the selection of Peter Ingram, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, to replace Dunkerley, effective March 1, 2018.

Dunkerley’s departure will end 15 years of leadership during which the company executed a remarkable turnaround to become one of the world’s most successful airlines. During Dunkerley’s tenure, Hawaiian Airlines successfully embarked on a bold Asia-Pacific growth strategy, adding service to Tokyo, Osaka and Sapporo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; and Beijing, China as well as new routes to Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney and Brisbane, Australia; and New York City.

Since December 2002 Hawaiian has doubled the number of passengers flown annually, to 11 million. Over the same period the company’s gross revenues have increased four-fold, to $2.64 billion and its employee count has doubled, to 6,600. Its share price has risen from a 52-week low of 29 cents in 2003 to a high of $60.90 over the last 52-week period.

“This has been a heart-wrenching decision,” said Dunkerley, who joined Hawaiian in December 2002.  “I am so proud to be associated with this company and our employees. Hawaiian Airlines is truly in a class of its own, distinguished by all the employees I am honored to call my colleagues. At the same time, I am excited by the new opportunities ahead of me and I am confident that Peter Ingram and the team will lead the company to further success.”

Chairman of the Board Lawrence Hershfield thanked Dunkerley for turning Hawaiian from a struggling local carrier to a global industry leader and also for ensuring a smooth leadership transition. “Mark’s abilities as an airline chief executive are evident in the phenomenal growth and success of Hawaiian Airlines over the course of his leadership,” said Hershfield. “It is also a measure of his commitment to Hawaiian that in extending his tenure for 14 months he gave the Board time to consider options for his prospective replacement.”

Continued Hershfield: “Peter Ingram has been an important part of Hawaiian Airlines’ growth and success for the past 12 years, and we are confident in his deep knowledge of the airline, the industry and the community.”

Ingram joined Hawaiian as chief financial officer in December 2005, six months after its emergence from Chapter 11 Reorganization. In 2011, Ingram became chief commercial officer, overseeing marketing and sales, revenue management and network planning, loyalty programs and cargo during a period of rapid revenue growth for Hawaiian.

“I am humbled by the Board’s confidence in me and excited by the opportunity to lead an incredible team as Hawaiian’s CEO,” said Ingram. “Mark has been an inspirational leader for our company and mentor to me and many others and I will be proud to continue pursuing the strategy for growth and success that we have been following for the last several years.”

All photos by Hawaiian Airlines.

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