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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hawaiian to buy four jets for $31.8M

By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaiian Airlines said it will spend $31.8 million to acquire four wide-body jets as part of a plan to expand its West Coast service.

The state's largest airline said yesterday that it has signed letters of intent to purchase the four Boeing 767-300 aircraft, expanding its long-haul fleet from 14 to 18 jets.

The new jets represent Hawaiian's first major investment since it emerged from bankruptcy protection in June.

"This is great news for our company, our employees especially those we will be able to recall from furlough and for Hawai'i tourism," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's chief executive officer.

The airline did not disclose its proposed new routes for competitive reasons but Dunkerley said each plane will add at least one daily roundtrip between the West Coast and Hawai'i.

The new jets will allow the airline to recall dozens of pilots and flight attendants who have been placed on furlough since it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2003.

About 200 of Hawaiian's 3,300 employees are on furlough.

The four jets previously were part of Delta Air Lines' fleet but the Atlanta-based carrier rejected the leases to the planes after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September.

Dunkerley said the planes which seat 260 people will be modified to fit Hawaiian's needs before they are put into service.

Besides its 14 Boeing 767-300 jets for West Coast service, the airline's interisland service includes 11 Boeing 717-200 aircraft.

Hawaiian emerged from bankruptcy protection in June under the control of California-based Ranch Capital LLC.

Reach Rick Daysog at rdaysog@honoluluadvertiser.com.