Airbus upgrade at Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines has signed a purchase agreement with Airbus to acquire 12 new long-range wide-body aircraft and secure purchase rights for an additional 12 aircraft.

The transaction, which follows a memorandum of understanding announced in November 2007, is the first step in a plan designed to replace the carrier’s current wide-body fleet of 18 aircraft, expand its long-range fleet, and enable it to open new routes to more distant markets on a non-stop basis from Hawaii.

Under the signed purchase agreement, Hawaiian is acquiring six wide-body A330-200 aircraft and six A350XWB-800 (Extra Wide-Body) aircraft, and purchase rights for an additional six A330-200s and six A350XWB-800s. The agreement has a total list-price value of approximately $4.4bn if all of the purchase rights are exercised.

With Hawaiian’s long-term fleet direction now established, President and CEO Mark Dunkerley said the company will move to secure additional aircraft in the leasing market for entry into service between 2009 and 2012.

‘One of the key features of our fleet plan and the transaction we structured with Airbus is flexibility. With some aircraft purchased, some to be leased and having options for others, Hawaiian will be able to scale its fleet according to needs and opportunities over the next two decades,’ Dunkerley said.

The wide-body twin-engine, twin-aisle A330-200 will seat 305 passengers in a two-class configuration. With an operating range of 5,500 nautical miles, the A330 can fly significantly farther than Hawaiian’s current fleet and will provide the ability to serve all of North America and points in eastern Asia non-stop from Hawaii. In addition, the A330 carries 45 more passengers and is more fuel-efficient than Hawaiian’s current fleet.

The extra-wide-body A350XWB-800 will seat 322 passengers in a two-class configuration and have a range of 8,300 nautical miles, which will give Hawaiian the capability to fly non-stop between Hawaii and Asia, Australasia, the Americas and Europe. The A350 carries 24 per cent more passengers and is 20 per cent more fuel-efficient per seat mile than Hawaiian’s current fleet.