Island Air Completes Transition of Q400 Aircraft
Island Air announced it has completed its transition to an all-Q400 Turboprop fleet.
Island Air began its fleet conversion in January, with the acquisition of its first Q400 aircraft. Over the past eight months, the airline has been transitioning its five 64-seat ATR-72 aircraft out of service as new 78-seat Q400s took flight.
The airline was running with ATR-72’s for over four years, with the final flight on that aircraft touching down for the last time at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport around 8:15 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4. Passengers aboard the final ATR flight from Līhu‘e to Honolulu were treated to special in-flight snacks and refreshments, and raffles for future trips on Island Air were held on every ATR-72 flight throughout the day.
“We have been looking forward to this day when we could say ‘mahalo’ to the ATR-72s that have served our Islands well over the past four years, and to celebrate Island Air’s larger, all-Q400 fleet,” said Capt. John Riddel, who piloted the final ATR flight. “Island Air’s 72 pilots are excited to fly the Q400s and having more passengers enjoy the superior Q400 flight experience.”
The Q400s have a maximum cruise speed of 414 miles per hour, making it 30% faster than conventional turboprops. The new turboprops feature advanced noise reduction and vibration suppression system which allows passengers to enjoy a quieter, smoother flight experience. The interior cabins are roomier and feature reclining seats, larger overhead bins, more natural light and contemporary designs.
In addition, the Q400s burn 30% less fuel and produce 30% lower emissions on short-haul routes, making them more environmentally friendly. Their noise footprint is two-and-a-half times smaller, which is less disruptive to the community as the aircraft fly overhead.
“Having an all-Q400 fleet is a goal our entire Island Air team has been working toward as it will allow us to provide residents and visitors with the best interisland travel experience,” said David Uchiyama, president and CEO of Island Air. “With a full fleet of Q400s in place, our team across the state is focused on continuing to improve operations, expand our service and offer more travelers the opportunity to ‘Fly the Island Way’.”
Island Air’s new fleet features five Q400 aircraft which provide more than 400 flights each week between the islands of O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island. A sixth Q400 is expected to be added to the fleet later this year.
The achievement comes as Island Air prepares to celebrate its 37th anniversary of service to the people of Hawai‘i on Sept. 9.