Hawaiian Airlines handed Boeing Co. a victory by selecting 10 of the plane maker’s 787 Dreamliners and canceling a deal for a competing model from Airbus SE.
The state’s largest carrier signed a nonbinding letter of intent for the Boeing 787-9 jets in a deal valued at $2.82 billion at list prices, passing over Airbus’s A330. Hawaiian expects to use the planes for flights to Asia and long-haul service to the U.S. mainland, spokesman Alex Da Silva said Tuesday.
Hawaiian originally had ordered six of Airbus’s A330-800 model before canceling that deal and considering the Dreamliner and the A330-900 for its long-haul needs, Da Silva said.
The first Dreamliner delivery is expected in early 2021, Hawaiian said in a statement, confirming earlier reports that it would switch to the Boeing plane. The airline has purchase rights for another 10 of the long-distance jetliner.
“The Dreamliner combines excellent comfort for our guests with fantastic operational performance, and will allow us to continue modernizing our fleet into the next decade,” said Hawaiian President and CEO Peter Ingram, who took over the top post from the retired Mark Dunkerley on Thursday.
The company expects to sign binding agreements with Boeing and General Electric Co. in the second quarter of this year. Hawaiian has chosen GE’s GEnx engine to power the aircraft.
”Hawaiian Airlines has been on an impressive growth trajectory, continuously expanding service between Asia and North America. It’s why we are thrilled they’ve chosen to reach their next horizon with the 787 Dreamliner,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister said in a statement.
The company will begin negotiating with its pilot and flight attendant unions to include the new aircraft in their respective contracts. The union agreements are required prior to final approval of the purchase by the company’s board of directors.
Hawaiian currently operates a fleet of 54 aircraft, including 24 Airbus A330-200s, eight Boeing 767s, two A321neos and 20 717s.
Separately, the airline announced that its passenger traffic rose 4.3 percent in January to 972,672 from 932,157 in the year-earlier period. The load factor, or percentage of seats filled, edged up 0.2 percentage points to 84.1 percent from 83.9 percent. Revenue passenger miles, or one paying passenger transported one mile, increased 2.6 percent to 1.37 million from 1.33 million. Available seat miles, or one seat transported one mile, rose 2.3 percent to 1.63 million from 1.59 million.
Star-Advertiser reporter Dave Segal contributed to this story.