Hawaiian Airlines Leases New Planes; Aims to Add New FlightsJuly 1, 2011 By: Jena Tesse Fox
In a further sign of Hawaii's reviving tourism scene, Hawaiian Airlines announced yesterday that it has leased three additional Boeing 717-200 aircraft. With these aircraft joining the fleet, the airline will be able to expand its interisland service between Honolulu and Kahului, Lihue, Hilo and Kona during peak travel periods.
Along with acquiring the three additional aircraft, Hawaiian announced that it has purchased its existing fleet of 15 leased Boeing 717-200 aircraft in a refinancing transaction that reduces its fleet costs over the long term.
“With our increasing service to Hawaii from Asia, demand for our interisland flights during peak hours of the day and during popular travel periods has never been higher. Adding these aircraft will give us the ability to serve more customers during these periods,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and chief executive officer. “At the same time, we are restructuring the ownership of our existing fleet to reduce our aircraft costs. With other costs rising quickly, this will help us keep fares affordable.”
Hawaiian expects to take delivery of the three additional aircraft in September, October and November.
Starting in October, Hawaiian will add approximately 20 flights per day between Honolulu and its other airports in Hawaii. The company expects to hire an additional 40-50 pilots, flight attendants and ground staff to support the increased flight operations.
Hawaiian has purchased the aircraft it previously operated under long term leases from Boeing Capital Corporation (BCC) with financing provided by BCC and entered into multi-year leases with BCC for the three additional 717s. Terms of the transactions were not released. Hawaiian’s 717s seat up to 123 passengers – eight in First Class and 115 in Coach.
"The addition of three Boeing 717-200 aircraft to Hawaiian Airlines' fleet is good news for our state and visitor industry," Mike McCartney, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said in a statement. "The increased capacity will help to support the HTA's goal to promote the Hawaiian Islands and encourage multi-island travel that will boost visitor arrivals and spending on the neighbor islands.
"Hawaiian Airlines' announcement further illustrates the momentum of our industry. The HTA remains committed to supporting their efforts, as well as those of other carriers, to ensure that Hawaii has adequate and convenient airlift to, from and within our state."