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Airlines give state tourism a lift

Hawaiian expands its interisland fleet and plans to add 20 flights and hire more workers

By Dave Segal

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:26 p.m. HST, Aug 05, 2011


Hawaiian Airlines, the dominant carrier in the interisland market, will add three Boeing 717-200s to its fleet later this year which will provide about 20 more flights per day between Honolulu and the neighbor islands.

The company said Thursday it expects to hire an additional 40 to 50 pilots, flight attendants and ground staff to support the increased operations.

"With our increasing service to Hawaii from Asia, demand for our interisland flights during peak hours of the day and during popular travel periods has never been higher," Hawaiian CEO Mark Dunkerley said. "Adding these aircraft will give us the ability to serve more customers during these periods."

Hawaiian, which carried 83 percent of all interisland passengers last year and provided 81 percent of the seats last month according to state data, said it expects to take delivery of the three leased aircraft in September, October and November. It said the increased service will begin in October. The airline said service will be expanded to Kahului, Lihue, Hilo and Kona during peak travel periods. The 717s seat up to 123 passengers each.

"The increased capacity will help to support the HTA's goal to promote the Hawaiian Islands and encourage multi-island travel that will boost visitor arrivals and spending on the neighbor islands," Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO Mike McCartney said.

In addition, Hawaiian said it has purchased its existing fleet of 15 leased 717s from Boeing Capital Corp. in a refinancing transaction that reduces its fleet costs over the long term. The airline also signed multiyear leases with Boeing Capital for the three additional 717s. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

"Hawaiian's decision to expand its fleet and move from operator to owner is a further vote for the world's best 100-seat airliner by an experienced and valued customer," said Jordan Weltman, Boeing Capital president for the Americas region.

The airline also has in its fleet 17 Boeing 767-300ERS and four Airbus A330-200s. Those planes are used for mainland and international flights. The 767s seat up to 264 passengers, and the A330s can carry 294 passengers.

STRETCHING ITS WINGS

Hawaiian Airlines commands a majority of the interisland market:
INTERISLAND PASSENGERS IN 2010
Hawaiian Airlines 83%
Go! 9%
Island Air 5%
Mokulele 1%
Japan Airlines 1%
Pacific Wings 0%
Trans Air 0%
Big Island Air 0%
Source: State Department of Transportation Airport Division

INTERISLAND SCHEDULED AIRLINE SEATS FOR JUNE:

Hawaiian Airlines 80.9%
Go! 8.5%
Island Air 7.7%
Mokulele 1.5%
Pacific Wings 1.4%
Source: OAG Aviation






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