Hawaiian Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to order 16 new Airbus A321neo aircraft for delivery between 2017 and 2020, with rights to purchase an additional nine aircraft.
The long-range, single-aisle aircraft will complement Hawaiian’s existing fleet of widebody, twin-aisle aircraft used for long-haul flying between Hawai’i and the U.S. West Coast, according to Hawaiian Airlines.
“Everyone at Hawaiian wants us to keep our position as the market leader in service quality, cost efficiency and choice of destinations,” says Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines. “Ordering the A321neo will secure this legacy on routes to the U.S. West Coast beyond the middle of this decade.”
Adds Dunkerley: “The A321neo will be the most fuel-efficient aircraft of its type after its introduction in 2016. With its slightly smaller size we’ll be able to open new markets that are not viable for wide-body service, while also being able to augment service on existing routes to the West Coast of North America.”
At 146 feet long, the Airbus A321neo will seat approximately 190 passengers in a two-class configuration (First and Coach) in Hawaiian Airlines service and will have a range of 3,650 nautical miles. The aircraft will offer the more comfortable seat widths found in the twin-aisle Airbus A330, according to Hawaiian.
Hawaiian and Airbus have not disclosed the terms of the MOU. However, the aircraft have a total list-price value of approximately $2.8 billion if all of the purchase rights are exercised, according to the airline.
The new acquisitions are also contingent upon Hawaiian signing new agreements with its pilots and flight attendant unions covering operation of the new aircraft type. If new agreements are reached, the fleet expansion is expected to generate roughly 1,000 additional jobs at Hawaiian.
“This is a significant investment in the future of both Hawaiian and Hawai’i. Our tourism-based economy and local employment will benefit as we continue our strategy of diversifying our business while improving the efficiency of our operation,” says Dunkerley.
Hawaiian Airlines currently operates a fleet of 43 aircraft. These include 25 widebody, long-haul aircraft (294-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft and 264-seat Boeing 767-300ER and Boeing 767-300 jets), and 18 narrowbody, 123-seat Boeing 717-200 aircraft for inter-island flights within the State of Hawaii.
Hawaiian’s existing orders include an additional 13 new A330s for delivery between 2013 and 2015, and six next-generation, longer-range Airbus A350-800 widebodies starting in 2017. Hawaiian plans to phase out its fleet of 16 Boeing 767s over the next 10 years.