By Sonia Isotov
Hawaiian Airlines’ newest Airbus A330-200 aircraft landed Sunday following its inaugural flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu.
The flight carried 293 passengers, one short of full capacity for the A330 Airbus, and arrived 25 minutes early at 11:10 a.m. This is the fifth new A330 to join Hawaiian’s fleet since June 2010.
Hawaiian is scheduled to take delivery of four more A330s in 2012 and will have 13 of the aircraft in its fleet by the end of 2015. By the end of the decade, Hawaiian plans to introduce up to 32 new Airbus aircraft into its fleet. The fleet expansion coincides with Hawaiian’s expansion into Asia and enhanced service for the airline’s North American routes. Hawaiian expects that 11,000 more air seats will be added annually with each new aircraft.
“Our growth strategy is on schedule and these new long-range aircraft are allowing us to expand internationally and boost Hawaii’s tourism economy,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and chief executive officer, in a corporate statement. “Demand for Hawaii is strong in the Asia-Pacific region, so that’s where most of our growth is focused. We recently launched three new Asia routes over an eight-month period. Our Sydney service is increasing to daily flights this December and we will be expanding into another new market with our Fukuoka service commencing in April.”
Hawaiian’s newest A330 is named Hokupa‘a, which is the Hawaiian language name for Polaris, or the North Star, also known as an invaluable guiding marker for the ancient Polynesians in their voyages across the Pacific to Hawaii. All of Hawaiian’s new A330s are named for a constellation or star used by Polynesian voyagers for celestial navigation.
In addition to the five A330s already in the fleet, Hawaiian has confirmed agreements in place to acquire 12 more A330s and six A350XWB-800 (Extra Wide-Body) aircraft (starting in 2017), along with purchase rights for an additional three A330s and six A350s.