We were chatting the other day with Mark Dunkerley, the suave Brit who’s now a Hawaiian. After quite a few years at British Airways, Mark took over Hawaiian Airlines a few years back and last we saw him, had sort of gone native, or at least Tommy Bahama with those neat shirts they wear out there. His prime competitor, Aloha Airlines, had to shut down last April, and Hawaiian had to rush to fill in on intra-island routes. It is now actually flying a Boeing 767 between Maui and Honolulu even though this is a plane that’s made for very high altitudes (35,000 feet) and very long-distance flights such as the routes to Australia or the mainland that Hawaiian flies. The Maui route takes about 18 minutes, which means the pilots have just about enough time to get the gear up and maybe do the flaps.
With 252 to 264 seats, the big 767s are “very good at providing capacity between the Islands. They’re just not so good on the economics,” he says, dryly. Mark says that as Hawaiian gets in the four additional Boeing 717s it is taking on, things will change. The 717s start to come into the fleet this month.