Hawaiian Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Airbus to replace six A350-800 widebodies it previously had on order with six A330-800neos.
Deliveries of Hawaiian Airlines’ six Airbus A330-800neo jets will begin in 2019, whereas deliveries of its six A350-800s were due to begin in 2017. This will mean the airline’s capital-expenditure commitments declining by $500 million through the end of 2018, according to Hawaiian.
Hawaiian Airlines’ MOU also covers the airline securing purchase rights on six additional A330-800neo jets. These purchase rights replace options Hawaiian previously held on six more A350-800s in addition to the firm order it placed for six.
If Hawaiian converts all its purchase options on A330-800neos to firm orders, the list-price value of its 12-aircraft order would be $2.9 billion, according to Airbus.
“The A330-800neo’s fuel efficiency, additional range and commonality with our existing A330 fleet makes the A330-800neo an elegant solution to our need for growth aircraft toward the end of this decade,” says Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines.
The July 22 MOU makes Hawaiian Airlines the sixth launch customer for the new Airbus A330neo family. However, it also represents another potential nail in the likely coffin of the Airbus A350-800, which as of June 30 had only accumulated firm orders for 34 aircraft.
It now appears very likely that Airbus will seek to have remaining A350-800 customers convert their orders to specify one of three aircraft models: the larger A350-900, which is the highest-selling Airbus A350 XWB version to date; the A330-800neo, which is similar in size to the A350-800, as Hawaiian Airlines has chosen to do; or the A330-900neo, which is similar in passenger capacity to the A350-900 but has significantly less range and is cheaper to buy.
Hawaiian Airlines currently operates 18 Airbus A330-200 widebodies and it has four more on order for delivery before the end of 2015. Hawaiian also holds options on five more A330-200s.
Ultimately the seven Boeing 767-300ER widebodies that Hawaiian Airlines still operates will be replaced by A330-200s.
The two remaining non-ER Boeing 767-300 aircraft still in its fleet will be replaced by a mix of A330-200s and some of the 16 Airbus A321neo jets the carrier has on firm order. Hawaiian also holds options on nine more A321neos.
For its inter-island routes within the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaiian operates a fleet of 18 Boeing 717 twinjets.
Its regional-airline partner Empire Airlines also operates three ATR 42-500 turboprop regional airliners on Hawaiian inter-island routes under the ‘Ohana by Hawaiian’ brand.
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