Hawaiian Airlines today announced that it has signed a “definitive purchase agreement” with aircraft manufacturer Airbus to acquire 12 new long-range wide-body planes with an option to buy 12 more. Provided all of the purchase rights are exercised, the deal is valued at $4.4 billion. The decision comes after the carrier reached key labor agreements with its pilot and flight attendant unions on the introduction of new aircraft.
Two weeks ago, Hawaiian Airlines said it may have to cancel the Airbus deal due to protracted negotiations with the unions.
â€œI want to thank and commend the leadership of our unions for demonstrating a shared vision and commitment to building a successful and profitable future for Hawaiian that serves the interests of our customers and employees, maximizes shareholder value and contributes even more to the growth of Hawaii’s tourism economy,â€ said President and CEO Mark Dunkerley in a statement.
The airline currently has 18 Boeing 767-300 airplanes in its fleet, and previously planned to replace at least four of them before 2010. Under the Airbus deal, Hawaiian is acquiring six wide-body A330-200 aircraft and six A350XWB-800 (Extra Wide-Body) aircraft, plus purchase rights for six more of each.
According to Hawaiian Airlines, the A330-200 seats 305 passengers in a twin-aisle, two-class configuration, and has an operating range of 5,500 nautical miles. It can therefore fly significantly farther than Hawaiian’s current fleet and will provide the ability to serve all of North America and points in eastern Asia nonstop from Hawaii. In addition, it carries 45 more passengers and is more fuel-efficient than Hawaiian’s current fleet.
The extra-wide-body A350XWB-800 seats 322 passengers in a two-class configuration and has a range of 8,300 nautical miles, which will give Hawaiian the capability to fly nonstop between Hawaii and Asia, Australasia, the Americas and Europe. The airline says the A350 carries 24 percent more passengers and is 20 percent more fuel-efficient per seat mile than its current fleet.