Image: Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines
Following Aloha Airlines' cessation of passenger operations on April 1, Hawaiian Airlines started operating a Boeing 767-300ER long-haul widebody on short flights between Hawaiian islands, as well as a 717 that it previously held in reserve as an operational spare, as an interim measure to provide much-needed capacity on interisland routes.
updated 6/5/2008 8:10:28 PM ET 2008-06-06T00:10:28

Planes on Hawaiian interisland routes have been flying full ever since Aloha Airlines stopped operating on April 1, but passengers flying between the islands should soon find themselves with a little more breathing room.

Hawaiian Airlines is adding four more aircraft to its Boeing 717 interisland fleet to help make up for the capacity lost on intra-Hawaii services as a result of Aloha's demise. The airline expects two of the additional 717s to enter service in September, and the remaining two to join the fleet in November and December.

The four jets, which Hawaiian is taking on long-term leases from Boeing Capital Corporation, will increase the airline's interisland fleet of Boeing 717s to 15.

"This substantial investment in more interisland aircraft reaffirms Hawaiian's long-term commitment to serving the people of Hawaii, and will allow us to increase our flight schedules during periods of the day that our customers prefer to travel," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines' president and chief executive officer.

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At present Hawaiian is operating a total of 150 interisland flights daily between the islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii. To meet the island state's immediate air transport needs in the wake of Aloha's collapse, Hawaiian expanded its interisland flight schedule by adding a long-haul Boeing 767-300ER widebody on the Honolulu-Maui route and by flying an additional 717 that it previously held in reserve to use as a back-up aircraft in the event of delays.

Hawaiian said it would continue using these two jets on interisland routes until the additional 717s arrive to make sure that enough seats remain available for interisland travelers.

The airline also began recruiting flight crews and additional ground staff to support its expanded interisland operations immediately after Aloha's closure. Hawaiian said that since Aloha collapsed it has hired 230 additional employees, the majority of whom are former Aloha employees, and is looking to find an additional 160 people, including pilots, flight attendants, maintenance technicians, contract service and line service staff.

In addition to its interisland fleet of 717s, Hawaiian also operates 18 twin-aisle Boeing 767-300ERs on 16 flights daily to 14 destinations outside Hawaii: Manila, Sydney, Papeete in Tahiti and Pago Pago in Samoa, as well as 10 destinations on the United States mainland. The airline will eventually replace its 767 fleet on routes to these and new Asian destinations with a new long-haul fleet of Airbus A330-200s and A350-800s it ordered on Feb. 4.

Hawaiian was the United States' top-ranked airline for service in the Department of Transportation's 2007 Airline Quality Ratings. According to DOT official statistics, Hawaiian led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past four years, and lost fewer bags per passenger than any other large U.S. airline each year for the past three.

The airline is now in its 79th year of continuous service in Hawaii. It is the state's biggest and longest-serving airline.

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