Hawaiian Airlines is looking to add flights to the U.S. East Coast after 2017, building on the single route it currently has to New York.
Creating new routes to major Eastern cities will “become more central in our consideration in the next 18 months,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Dunkerley said.
“New York’s been a success for us,” he said by telephone Wednesday, during a break from the airline’s annual investor day presentation. “We have the ambition to start more service to the U.S. East Coast.” Hawaiian Holdings Inc.’s sole route to the East Coast flies to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Dunkerley has spoken before about his desire to expand in the populous region.
The arrival of 16 A321neo jets starting in 2017 would allow the route expansion, Dunkerley said. The narrow-body Airbus Group SE plane has the range to reach the West Coast from Hawaii — a 2,600-mile trip. In turn, some of the bigger, long-distance Airbus A330-200 jets currently serving those routes can be redeployed to the East Coast, he said.
Hawaiian sees growth opportunity in big Eastern U.S. cities, including Philadelphia, Washington and Boston, as well as in Austin, Texas, and in Toronto and Montreal, according to a slide in the investor presentation. While those locations represent big untapped population bases, it isn’t clear if Hawaiian will start routes in those specific cities, Dunkerley said.
Hawaiian also is in the market for more Boeing Co. 717 jets, which it uses for flights between the Hawaiian islands, he said. Spain’s Volotea SL has said it is selling its 717s in the next several years and moving to an all-Airbus fleet, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais. Dunkerley declined to say if Hawaiian would seek to buy Volotea’s 717s.
The shares rose 3.3 percent to $37.95 at 2:25 p.m. in New York, adding to a 45 percent gain this year through Tuesday.