Virgin America confirms Hawaii plans

Washington DC
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Virgin America hopes to begin flying to Hawaii from the US mainland with longer-range, sharklet-equipped A320 aircraft in 2015, the airline confirms.

Virgin America says that although it has "no immediate plans" to begin the service, "it has always been our hope to launch Hawaii [service] in the longer term."

It expects flights to the islands to begin in 2015, when the airline starts receiving 10 A320s it currently has on order with Airbus.

Those aircraft will be equipped with sharklets, which Virgin says should provide enough fuel efficiency to extend the aircraft's range to the Hawaiian Islands from the west coast of the United States.

Virgin America declines to say which cities on the US mainland it will connect to Hawaii, or which cities in Hawaii it expects to serve.

Virgin America operates the majority of its flights from San Francisco, which is near its Burlingame, California headquarters.

Airbus began offering A320s with sharklets in 2012.

The manufacturer says the winglets provide more than 2.5% fuel burn savings on long sectors and can give an aircraft up to 100nm (185km) in additional range.

Airbus says the A320 has a range of 3,300nm (6,150km), but different aircraft configurations and operating conditions can reduce operating ranges. San Francisco is roughly 2,100nm (3889km) from Honolulu.