Despite the change in climate across the aviation industry, the Boeing 717 will remain an integral member of Hawaiian Airlines’ fleet for at least half a decade. The carrier’s head of marketing, Avi Mannis, spoke with Simple Flying about the value of the narrowbody.
The perfect solution
Like most carriers, Hawaiian Airlines’ operations have been rocked by the global health crisis. Several services had been suspended, and the operator deferred deliveries of its Boeing 787 aircraft until 2022. Nonetheless, even though there are changes in plans, the company has a lot of faith in its narrowbody Boeing aircraft.
“The 717s, our interisland aircraft, they’re absolutely fantastic planes. Simply, no plane is better suited to operating in this environment – very high frequency, short stage length, but with a lot of passengers. The 717 is absolutely the perfect airplane for that,” Mannis told Simple Flying.
“We’ve said that we intend to have that fleet through sort of the middle of this decade, and so we’ve got a bit of time to figure out what our plans are around the fleet. And right now, we’re really, really happy with that, the 717, in our arsenal as we start to ramp up flying interisland again.”
The central figure
Mannis added that the 717s are the core of Hawaiian’s interisland fleet. They will continue to fly on these trips as interisland services inevitably resume. The airline feels that there is no aircraft flying today that is better suited to this mission. It highlights the plane’s use on short distances, a demanding operating environment, and large Origin and Destination (O&D) markets.
According to Planespotters.net, Hawaiian has 19 717-200 jets within its fleet, and five of these are on lease. The oldest plane to join the fold is N475HA, which arrived in February 2001. Nine other units arrived in that year, giving an average 717 fleet age of 18.8 years. However, the different aircraft types in the carrier’s holdings bring the total average age down to 9.4 years.
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No need for change just yet
Altogether, Mannis says that Hawaiian came into the COVID-19 crisis very well positioned. He feels that the airline has a young fleet that can cater to the different niche market segments that it covers. Therefore, there isn’t any need to go through an immediate substantial fleet restructure
The airline will deploy the 717 for interisland short-haul operations, the A321neo for the smaller West Coast market, and the A330 for bigger West Coast market and international services. So, the firm has a healthy balance over the next few years.
It will be a challenging period in the US aviation industry as it tries to recover from the unprecedented impact of the pandemic. So, it makes sense for Hawaiian not to make any new major orders to replace its narrowbody fleet right now.
The type is highly valued for Hawaiian for its ability to serve well on the airline’s unique network. Therefore, the company is not in any rush to make any renewal plans as it monitors the situation.
What are your thoughts about Hawaiian Airlines’ Boeing 717 jets? Which aircraft type do you think will replace the plane later this decade? Let us know what you think of the plans in the comment section.