Hawaiian Won’t Retire The 717 For At Least Another 5 Years

Hawaiian Airlines has shared that it does not plan to retire its Boeing 717-200 aircraft for at least another five years. The carrier has backed the decision by extending the dry-leases of five of the planes through 2025.

Hawaiian Airlines B717 Aircraft
Hawaiian is continuing to trust in the Boeing 717. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

CH-Aviation reports that the Honolulu-based airline made the announcement as part of its 2019 Fourth Quarter earnings call. Hawaiian President and Chief Executive Peter Ingram shared that his company is often asked about its plans for a replacement for the B717.

However, he feels that no plane is better suited for the type of operations that the airline conducts across its state’s islands. The aircraft can hold up to 128 seats and its stature makes it the perfect size for the carrier to hop across the region.

Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, and Lihue are all destinations that Hawaiian connects across the archipelago. The firm is helped by 20 of the B717s, which it owns 15 of.

The additional five are dry-leased from BCC Equipment Leasing. The airline also holds 41 Airbus aircraft within its fleet. These are split between 17 A321s and 24 A330s.

Hawaiian Airlines B717 Aircraft Interior
The size of the B717 makes it perfect for regional services across the Pacific. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

Unneeded change

For the more local operations, Ingram feels that there is no need to replace its trusted single-aisle jets.

“We’ve agreed to extend the power-by-the-hour agreement related to this fleet’s engines and are planning to have a B717 flight simulator moved to Honolulu to allow us to do all of our simulator training at our home base,” Ingram said, as reported by CH Aviation.

“We’ll continue to monitor options for the latter part of the decade, but for now, we see no need to deploy our capital to replace these aircraft.”

Hawaiian is in an exclusive club when it comes to operating these aircraft. Only three other airlines hold the plane within their fleets. Spanish low-cost airline Volotea holds 14 and Cobham Aviation Services Australia operates 20. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines is the biggest customer with 88 of the jets in its holdings.

Hawaiian Airlines B717
The first Hawaiian B717 that is in service arrived in February 2001. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

Additions expected

Ingram added that the airline is continuing to expand on its aircraft across the board. It will add one more A321neo to its fleet in March.

Meanwhile, it has five B787-9s on order directly from Boeing while another five is expected to arrive from lessors. The first of these is due to be delivered at the beginning of 2021. The airline also has an option for ten more of the type.

Altogether, Hawaiian sounds confident in its plans this decade. It has a strong balance of aircraft to serve its local and longer-distance operations.

Simple Flying reached out to Hawaiian Airlines for comment on the lease extensions. A spokesperson summarized that following the lease extensions, the airline won’t reevaluate its 717 fleet for the near future.

What are your thoughts about Hawaiian extending the lease on its Boeing 717s? Let us know what you think of the airline’s plans in the comment section.