Hawaiian Airlines launched a new era in its 80-year history on June 4 with the inaugural commercial flight of its first Airbus A330-200 widebody,...

Hawaiian Airlines launched a new era in its 80-year history on June 4 with the inaugural commercial flight of its first Airbus A330-200 widebody, the flight operating from Honolulu to Los Angeles.

“This is a historic day for Hawaiian Airlines that’s been years in the making and sets us on a new course to improve our service to customers, grow our company, and expand the range of destinations we serve on both sides of the Pacific,” commented Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO, at Honolulu International Airport festivities commemorating the carrier’s first commercial flight with the A330.

Hawaiian Airlines launched a new era of service on June 4, 2010 with the inaugural flight of its new Airbus A330-200, the first of up to 27 new A330s and A350 XWBs that the company will introduce to its fleet in the coming decade. Hawaiian's first A330 is shown here being pushed back from the gate at Honolulu International Airport to depart on its inaugural flight to Los Angeles

Passengers on the inaugural flight were greeted at the boarding gate in Honolulu with Hawaiian music and hula by the Hawaiian Airlines Serenaders, and presented with fresh orchid lei to commemorate the first commercial flight aboard what Hawaiian calls its “fleet of the future”.

Named ‘Hokule’a’ or “star of gladness,” for the star known as Arcturus that served as a guiding beacon for Polynesian voyagers in ancient times, the new, 294-seat A330 offers 30 more seats per flight than Hawaiian’s 767-300ER equipment on the carrier’s twice-daily Los Angeles-Honolulu route as the peak summer travel season begins. Until now, Hawaiian has operated all its Honolulu-Los Angeles flights with Boeing 767-300ERs.

Passengers flying in Hawaiian’s coach class have more legroom on the A330 than on its 767s . The new A330s also feature a state-of-the-art, on-demand in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, with high-resolution LCD touch-screen monitors in each seatback allowing passengers to choose from a wide selection of movies and video programs, audio channels and video games. Each passenger’s seatback IFE system also includes a USB port allowing connectivity for personal media players.

First-class passengers on Hawaiian’s new A330s get larger in-seat LCD screens, as well as iPOD compatibility.

Hawaiian’s first A330 flight departed Honolulu on June 4 as flight HA2 at 1:15 p.m. and arrived at Los Angeles at 9:35 p.m. The inaugural return flight of the A330 departed Los Angeles on Saturday as Flight HA1 at 8:35 a.m. and arrived in Honolulu at 11:25 a.m.

Hawaiian plans to introduce up to 27 new Airbus aircraft into its fleet by the end of the decade, representing a commitment of approximately $5 billion if all options are exercised. Hawaiian is initially leasing three new A330-200s, the third of which will join its fleet in November.

The airline also has a purchase agreement with Airbus to acquire seven A330s starting in 2011 and six A350XWB-800 (eXtra Wide-Body) aircraft starting in 2017, along with purchase rights for an additional five A330s and six A350s.