Hawaiian completes first new A330 flight
HONOLULU - Amid festivities featuring Hawaiian music and hula, Hawaiian Airlines today launched a new era in its storied 80-year history with the inaugural flight of its new, wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft, from Honolulu to Los Angeles.
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO, commented, “This is a historic day for Hawaiian Airlines that’s been years in the making and sets us on a new course to improve our service to customers, grow our company, and expand the range of destinations we serve on both sides of the Pacific.”
Passengers on the inaugural flight were greeted at the boarding gate in Honolulu with Hawaiian music and hula by the Hawaiian Airlines Serenaders, and presented with fresh orchid lei to commemorate the first commercial flight aboard Hawaiian’s new “fleet of the future.”
Named Hokule’a or “star of gladness,” for the star known as Arcturus that served as a guiding beacon for Polynesian voyagers in ancient times, the new, 294-seat A330 immediately adds 30 more seats per flight to Hawaiian’s popular twice-daily Los Angeles-Honolulu route as the peak summer travel season begins.
Passengers flying in coach class will enjoy the comforts of more legroom and a state-of-the-art, on-demand entertainment system, with high-resolution LCD touch screen monitors in each seatback allowing them 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 will enjoy the added advantages of larger in-seat LCD screens and iPOD compatibility.
Among the passengers on today’s Inaugural Flight were Gene and Melissa Caliwag of Mililani, who were randomly selected from more than 200,000 entries in an online sweepstakes by Hawaiian offering free tickets on the Inaugural Flight (return flight included) and three nights of accommodations at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE. As fate would have it, the Caliwags submitted their entry to Hawaiian via Facebook on May 20, the same day as their 21st wedding anniversary.
Hawaiian’s first A330 flight departed Honolulu today as Flight #2 at 1:15 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles at 9:35 p.m. The inaugural return flight of the A330 will depart Los Angeles on Saturday as Flight #1 at 8:35 a.m. and arrive in Honolulu at 11:25 a.m.
Hawaiian plans to introduce up to 27 new Airbus aircraft into its fleet by the end of the decade,representing a commitment of approximately $5 billion if all options are exercised. Hawaiian is initially leasing three new A330s, the third of which will join its fleet in November, and has a purchase agreement with Airbus to acquire seven A330s starting in 2011 and six A350XWB-800 (Extra Wide-Body) aircraft starting in 2017, along with purchase rights for an additional five A330s and six A350s.