Hawaiian Airlines launched its seventh new Airbus A330-200 yesterday, continuing its strategic growth plan that will have 22 of the new wide-body aircraft in operation by 2015. The new A330 was flown nonstop from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France, to Los Angeles this past Friday, where it underwent final preparations over the weekend before making its inaugural commercial flight to Honolulu as Hawaiian Flight #3 carrying 245 passengers.
Hawaiian plans to use the 294-seat A330 primarily for its daily nonstop service between Sydney and Honolulu, with the transition to the larger aircraft from the 264-seat Boeing 767-300ER adding nearly 11,000 more air seats annually to the route.
Hawaiian has named its latest A330 Heiheionakeiki, the Hawaiian name to describe the “Belt and Sword of Orion” constellation. (All of Hawaiian’s new A330s are named for a constellation or star used by the ancient Polynesians for celestial navigation when making their voyages across the Pacific to Hawaii.) Heiheionakeiki is the second of four new A330s to join Hawaiian’s fleet this year, with the remaining two A330s being delivered in May and June, which will bring the company total to nine. Hawaiian is taking delivery of 13 new A330s between 2013 and 2015.
The new A330s are more fuel-efficient and have a longer operating range than the B767s, which has allowed Hawaiian to open new nonstop routes between Hawaii and points throughout North America and eastern Asia.