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Hawaiian Airlines in Transition

Wayne Yoshioka

Hawaiian Airlines introduced its new mid-range aircraft for West Coast mainland flights today. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

The Airbus A-321 neo, is a dual engine, single aisle aircraft with 189 seats.   Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO, Mark Dunkerly, says the A-321will benefit the neighbor islands the most, with more direct flights to West Coast mainland cities and do so with less fuel.

“Its about two-thirds the size of our wide-body and its so much more fuel efficient that we’ll save almost a thousand gallons of fuel per flight which is almost 2 dollars a gallon, translated to couple of thousand dollars per flight.”

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Marc Kup, senior director of airline initiatives

The A-321 is powered by two Pratt-Whitney GTF engines.  Mark Kup, senior director of fleet initiatives, says the engine is more efficient and in-flight noise has been reduced 75 percent.

“On this engine, you can have a conversation right over the wing.  You can hear the engine, you know it’s there but it’s not very loud at all.  And at the aft end of the plane where it’s normally rather loud you don’t have any of these problems.”

The crew will undergo training on the new aircraft with the first flight scheduled on January 8 between Kahului and Oakland.   Dunkerly says all eighteen aircraft will be delivered to Hawaiian Airlines over the next 3 years, as competition increases from Southwest, Alaska, United and other Asia-based airlines.

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Mark Arimoto and Alison Croyle pointed out the A-321 amenities

“We will have opportunities to replace one wide-body flight with two A-321 neo flights, so there’ll be more seats and it will free-up a wide body that will allow us to expand further into Asia.”

Dunkerly also announced his retirement after 15 years at the helm of Hawaiian Airlines.

“You know, it’s a kinda mixed feeling.  I’d love to be around to experience the successes that lie in the future for Hawaiian Airlines but at the same time, I’m very satisfied that the company, as it is right now, is in a terrific place and will succeed in the years ahead.”

Executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Peter Ingram, will replace Dunkerly, March 1st.  Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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