Hawaiian Airlines has dropped plans to operate the Airbus A330-800neo and will instead take delivery of up to 20 Boeing 787-9s.
The airline said on Tuesday (US time) it had signed a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) for 10 787-9s, as well as purchase rights for a further 10 aircraft. The aircraft will be powered by General Electric GEnx engines, with deliveries to begin in 2021.
After an extensive evaluation of our future fleet needs, we're excited to announce that we've selected the @BoeingAirplanes 787 #Dreamliner to grow our medium to long-haul fleet. As part of the selection, we intend to purchase 10 787-9 jets. #AvGeek #Aviation pic.twitter.com/2Nqve7blLP
— Hawaiian Airlines (@HawaiianAir) March 6, 2018
While Hawaiian Airlines had previously ordered six A330-800neos – it was the only airline customer for the smaller A330neo model – it had recently been weighing up whether it was still the right aircraft for its needs.
The airline said it selected the 787-9 following a “competitive bid process” that also included the A330-900neo.
“We were in the enviable position of choosing between two outstanding models for our flagship aircraft of the future and I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of adding the Dreamliner to Hawaiian’s fleet,” Hawaiian Airlines chief executive Peter Ingram said.
“The Dreamliner combines excellent comfort for our guests with fantastic operational performance and will allow us to continue modernising our fleet into the next decade.”
The loss of Hawaiian Airlines’ order leaves the A330-800neo without an airline customer as the first aircraft prepares to begin flight testing by the middle of 2018.
Currently, Hawaiian Airlines has 24 Airbus A330-200s and eight Boeing 767s in its fleet, as well as its first two A321neos plus 20 717s.
Its A330-200s, which are configured with 18 business class and 276 economy class seats for a total of 294, are used on flights from its Honolulu hub to Australia, New Zealand and Asia, as well as on select routes from Hawaii to the US mainland. Meanwhile, its 767s have 264 seats (18 business, 246 economy).
While Hawaiian Airlines has not revealed the cabin layout for its 787-9s, Ingram said the Dreamliner would be able to carry more passengers than its existing aircraft.
“It has more seating capacity than Hawaiian’s current widebody fleet, which will allow us to further build upon our successful growth in Asia,” he said.
Hawaiian said it expected to finalise binding purchase agreements with Boeing and engine provider GE in the second quarter of calendar 2018.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive Kevin McAllister welcomed the Hawaiian Airlines order.
“Hawaiian Airlines has been on an impressive growth trajectory, continuously expanding service between Asia and North America,” McAllister said.
“It’s why we are thrilled they’ve chosen to reach their next horizon with the 787 Dreamliner.”
Boeing celebrated the Hawaiian Airlines order on Twitter
Mahalo @HawaiianAir, welcome to the #Dreamliner family.✈️ Can't wait to see your 787-9s in the air, bringing people from all over the world to the islands. https://t.co/zWHGzOc80s ??? #Hawaii pic.twitter.com/SgY1xQ8X24
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) March 6, 2018