**Update on 04/21/2020 @ 16:45UTC – Inserted additional details and images from Hawaiian Airlines**
Hawaiian Airlines is upgrading its fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft with additional ventilation tubes to better optimize the temperature and air circulation inside the plane. The airline started these modifications to some aircraft earlier this month.
Hawaiian upgrading A321neos
In a blog post, the carrier outlined some activities being undertaken as the airline’s fleet stays parked. On a “handful” of A321neos, Hawaiian is investing 140 to 180 hours per aircraft to upgrade ventilation tubing. The process requires the airline first to remove the seating from the plane. Once the aircraft are back in the air, they will have better interior air temperature and circulation according to the carrier.
While the planes are on the ground, Hawaiian also noted that it was conducting repairs to parts such as tray tables and the seats itself in addition to performing a deep clean.
A total of 17 A321neos are in the airline’s fleet, and, currently, all of these aircraft are parked. Of these, 10 are undergoing the modifications while the others were delivered with the modifications done by Airbus.
Maintenance on the 717s
Hawaiian primarily operates the Boeing 717s on interisland services around Hawaii. The airline rotates its 20 717s to keep all of its fleet flying for the time being. Every day, the airline’s mechanics clock a total of 120 hours doing overnight checks on the parked 717s. This is due to an FAA requirement that requires mechanics to check each aircraft every 48 hours, even if the plane recorded no flights.
Director of line maintenance at Hawaiian, Jonathan Yang, offered the following statement:
“We have to continue doing these periodic checks to verify that certain systems and/or components of an aircraft are operating normally. This allows our fleet to remain in a ‘flight ready’ condition”
The 717s, being an older and very heavily-utilized aircraft, require a little more maintenance than the newer A321neos. Despite the current downturn, Hawaiian has not outlined plans to retire the 717s. In part, this is because the aircraft is uniquely suited for conducting intra-island hops. Also, the airline has not placed an order for replacement aircraft.
What about the A330s?
Hawaiian has grounded most of its Airbus A330s. However, the carrier has modified one of its 24 aircraft to transport face masks from China to Hawaii. These aircraft are still operating flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles. For a remote location like Hawaii, air links are crucial to help bring valuable cargo to people in need.
Tourism to Hawaii has plummeted as government and health agencies on the islands are taking significant precautions. In fact, anyone coming to the island– no matter the place of destination– has to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine. Breaking that quarantine can result in either fines or imprisonment.
Airlines are taking some opportunities to conduct maintenance and upgrades to parked aircraft. Hawaiian Airlines is upgrading its A321neos with additional ventilation tubing while the aircraft are on the ground.
Do you think more airlines should upgrade parked aircraft? Let us know in the comments!
Simple Flying reached out to Hawaiian Airlines for more information. However, the airline was not immediately available to respond.