HONOLULU, June 1, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --In a ceremony steeped in the cultural traditions of Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines today introduced its fleet of the future by welcoming the first of up to 27 new long-range Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft joining the company's fleet this decade.
Hawaiian's new aircraft will offer improved onboard amenities as well as greater operating range that will enable growth and expansion in the years ahead. Starting a new era for Hawaiian Airlines, the company will inaugurate service with its first new 294-seat, wide-body A330-200 aircraft this Friday, June 4, on a flight departing Honolulu for Los Angeles.
"The 80-year legacy of Hawaiian Airlines is one of taking bold new steps that change the course of air transportation for Hawaii and the future of our company," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and CEO. "Today represents the opening page to a new chapter in Hawaiian's proud history - one that will see our company set a new standard for travel to and from Hawaii and expand our route structure to new, more distant destinations."
The new A330 is named for the constellation Makali'i, otherwise known as Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, which guided ancient Polynesian voyagers across the Pacific and was seen high in the sky when Inter-Island Airways (renamed Hawaiian Airlines in 1941) launched its first scheduled flight on November 11, 1929. Each of Hawaiian's new A330s are being named after a star or constellation used by Polynesian voyagers for celestial navigation.
In keeping with Hawaiian Airlines' heritage, today's ceremony featured a traditional Hawaiian blessing by Kahu Richard Kamanu of Kaumakapili Church, a special 'oli (Hawaiian chant) created just for the occasion by company employee Keoni Martin, and hula by Halau I Ka Wekiu, led by Kumu Hula Veto Baker and Michael Casupang.
Presenting remarks were Governor Linda Lingle, Airbus Americas Chairman T. Allan McArtor, and Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Mark Dunkerley. On display next to Makali'i was Hawaiian's very first airplane, a fully restored 1929 Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker, as a visual tribute to the company's history and its future.
Highlighting the ceremony's theme of looking to the future, the event concluded with a performance by the award-winning, 110-member Pearl City High School Marching Band, who were joined by 80 keiki (children) hula dancers of the renowned Halau Hula Olana.
Hawaiian took delivery of Makali'i five weeks ago in a Hawaii-themed acceptance ceremony at the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, that included a group of more than 200 Hawaiian Airlines employees and their guests.
Makali'i made its arrival in Honolulu on May 3 and since then has been undergoing final preparations for its introduction into service.
Hawaiian's second A330, named Hokule'a or "star of gladness," arrived Saturday, May 29, following a 16-hour nonstop flight from Toulouse to Honolulu, demonstrating the possibilities that the new Airbus aircraft bring to Hawaiian in serving new and more distant destinations.
Passengers flying in coach class on Hawaiian's A330 will enjoy the comforts of the new aircraft, including more legroom and a state-of-the-art on-demand entertainment system. High-resolution LCD touch screen monitors in each seatback allow each passenger to choose from a wide selection of movies and video programs, audio channels and video games. Each system also includes a USB port allowing connectivity for personal media players.
First Class passengers on Hawaiian's new A330 aircraft will enjoy the added advantages of larger in-seat LCD screens and iPOD compatibility.
The A330 provides Hawaiian with an increased operating range of 6,050 nautical miles and the capability to expand its service area on both sides of the Pacific by offering nonstop flights between Hawaii and points in eastern Asia and all of North America.
Other benefits include a greater seating capacity with 30 more seats per aircraft compared to Hawaiian's current long-range fleet, improved fuel efficiency, and lower operating cost per seat mile.
Hawaiian is initially leasing three A330s, the third of which will join the fleet in November of this year. The company has a purchase agreement with Airbus to acquire seven more new A330s starting in 2011, and six new A350XWB-800 (Extra Wide-Body) aircraft starting in 2017, along with purchase rights for an additional five A330s and six A350s.
The next-generation A350s will seat 322 passengers in a two-class configuration and have an operating range of 8,300 nautical miles, providing Hawaiian with the capability to offer nonstop flights to Hawaii from points in Asia, Australasia, the Americas, and Europe.
About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian is the nation's highest-ranked carrier for service quality and performance in 2009 in the 20th annual Airline Quality Rating study, having earned that distinction in three of the past four years. Hawaiian has also led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past six years (2004-2009) and has been an industry leader in fewest misplaced bags during that same period (#1 from 2005-2007, #2 in 2008 and 2009) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian the top domestic airline offering flights to Hawaii.
Now in its 81st year of continuous service for Hawaii, Hawaiian is the state's biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service to Hawaii from the state's primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities (10) than any other airline, as well as service to the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa, and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides more than 150 daily jet flights between the Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HA). Additional information is available at HawaiianAirlines.com.
SOURCE Hawaiian Airlines