Hawaiian Airlines has taken delivery of its initial A330, one of the first steps in this new Airbus operator's plan to replace its current widebody aircraft fleet and expand service into Asia and other markets.
Airbus Chief Operating Officer - Customers John Leahy and Hawaiian Airlines President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Dunkerley donned traditional Hawaiian flower leis for today's handover ceremony, which was held at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France. The event also included a blessing of the aircraft with salt and a serenade from Hawaiian musicians.
Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent engines, Hawaiian Airlines' A330-200s will seat 294 passengers - 30 more than its existing widebody fleet of Boeing 767s. In addition to providing unrivalled fuel efficiency and setting new quality standards in its markets served, the A330's operating range of 6,050 naut. mi. would allow the U.S. carrier to fly nonstop between Hawaii and points in eastern Asia and all of North America.
"Today we welcome the dawn of the next new era for our company and for Hawaii with the introduction of this A330-200 aircraft to our widebody fleet," Dunkerley remarked during the event. "The A330 has a larger capacity, greater fuel efficiency and longer range than what we operate today - and this is going to enable us to carry more people at lower cost to and from more distant places."
The A330 delivered today is named "Makali'i," after a revered figure in Hawaiian legend, and will enter operation in the carrier's 81st year of continuous service for the U.S. state of Hawaii, located in the Pacific
"What better way for Hawaiian Airlines to start its next 80 years of pioneering service than by inaugurating a new fleet of modern, efficient, passenger and cargo friendly aircraft," said Leahy during today's ceremony. "It's the right aircraft at the right time for the industry and for Hawaiian Airlines."
Hawaiian Airlines is planning to build up a fleet of 10 A330s, composed of both leased jetliners (such as the one delivered today) and aircraft ordered directly from Airbus. These A330s will be equipped with a state-of-the-art interactive, on-demand entertainment system for every passenger.
In 2017, the carrier will undertake another major step its fleet expansion by receiving the first of six new A350 XWB-800s from Airbus, with options to purchase an additional six. These next-generation, fuel-efficient A350s will seat 322 passengers in a two-class configuration and have a range of 8,300 nautical miles - enabling Hawaiian Airlines to fly nonstop between Hawaii and Asia, Australasia, the Americas, and Europe.
Watch video highlights
from the Hawaiian Airlines delivery ceremony, which featured cultural traditions of the Islands.See the Hawaiian Airlines A330 take shape,
from the arrival of components to final assembly and painting in Toulouse, France.