Will Hawaiian Airlines Order The Airbus A220?

Hawaiian Airlines will need a new aircraft to replace the Boeing 717s on short-haul, intra-island routes across Hawaii. While the 717s will fly for a few more years, Hawaiian Airlines will need to secure a replacement for them within the next couple of years. Will Hawaiian choose the A220? Simple Flying takes a look.

Airbus A220
Could Hawaiian Airlines order the Airbus A220 for the short island hops? Photo: Airbus

Hawaiian’s Boeing 717 aircraft

Currently, Hawaiian Airlines uses the Boeing 717 on intra-island routes. While the aircraft are aging, the airline has decided to keep the type in operation for at least the next five years if not longer.

Hawaiian Airlines uses the Boeing 717 for intra-island routes. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

The airline operates a total of 20 Boeing 717 aircraft with a capacity of 128 passengers in a two-class configuration. Eight seats are in the First Class cabin in a 2-2 configuration. Meanwhile, economy class is in a 2-3 configuration with 120 seats.

717 Interior
The interior of a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 717. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

This aircraft is designed for short-haul routes. As a result, Hawaiian Airlines loves these aircraft. Although, there are very few operators of the Boeing 717 worldwide. However, these aircraft are aging and will need to be replaced– even if it is at the end of the next decade.

Hawaiian’s intra-island routes

Currently, Hawaiian Airlines offers a host of intra-island route services using both Boeing 717 aircraft and turboprops. From Honolulu, the more high-demand routes fly using Boeing 717s. Here is Hawaiian’s route map for intra-island services:

Route Map Intra Island
Hawaiian Airlines intra-island route map. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

Due to the short duration of these routes, the Boeing 717 is an ideal aircraft. It is not as cramped as some regional jets but also is not too large for Hawaiian’s operations.

The 717 replacement

Hawaiian really has main two options when it comes to replacing the Boeing 717– the Embraer E2 series, or the Airbus A220. To replace the 717s, Hawaiian would likely opt for the E195-E2 or else the Airbus A220-300. Of these, the A220-300 has a larger seating capacity and could maintain or expand on Hawaiian’s current intra-island capacity. In addition, the A220-300 has a greater range when compared to the E195-E2.

Hawaiian A220-300
The A220-300 would offer additional range and seating options for Hawaiian Airlines. Photo: Airbus

There is enough room for Hawaiian to add some extra legroom seats should the airline choose to. However, what is more interesting is the range of the Airbus A220-300. According to Airbus, the A220-300 has a range of 3,350nm. For reference, out of Honolulu, this is the range of the A220-300:

A220 range from Honolulu
The range of the Airbus A220 out of Honolulu. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper

There are plenty of Pacific Islands that Hawaiian does not fly to out of Honolulu. In the scenario where Hawaiian takes on the A220, it is not improbable for Hawaiian to consider expanding. This would also help Hawaiian make up for passenger numbers lost due to Southwest’s expansion. Furthermore, the A220 would not have the capacity of the A321neo, which works for Hawaiian to some smaller destinations.

Will Hawaiian Airlines Order The Airbus A220?
Hawaiian Airlines could use the A220 on some routes that the A321neo is too large for. Photo: Airbus


Hawaiian Airlines has not yet indicated which aircraft will replace the Boeing 717 towards the end of this decade. However, the Airbus A220 would be a likely choice. Neither Airbus nor Boeing is working on an all-new line for short-haul narrowbody aircraft. Given Hawaiian’s current ties to Airbus, the A220 is definitely one to keep your eye on for Hawaiian Airlines to order.

Do you think Hawaiian will order the Airbus A220? Let us know in the comments!