Hawaiian Airlines has taken delivery of the second of 10 Airbus A330-300 passenger-to-freighter conversions it plans to operate on behalf of Amazon, under the brand Prime Air. 

Chief executive Peter Ingram told FlightGlobal on 20 March that the second A330P2F is in Honolulu for “final procedures with our maintenance team” before it will fly to the mainland USA and begin flying cargo for the e-commerce giant. 

He revealed that Hawaiian anticipates operating six A330P2Fs by year’s end, and taking delivery of the remaining four throughout 2025. 

“The current plan, based on the delivery of aircraft through the cargo-modification process, has us getting to six airplanes by the end of the year,” he says. “It’s another opportunity to really become more efficient as we’re operating more aircraft and making sure we’re using our crews efficiently.” 

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Source: Amazon

Hawaiian has been operating one A330-300P2F under the Prime Air brand for the past several months

In October 2022, Hawaiian agreed to operate “at least” 10 Airbus A330-300 Freighters for Amazon, while granting it rights to own 15% of Hawaiian Holdings’ stock.

Amazon is leasing the aircraft from Altavair, a lessor with operations in Dublin, London, Seattle and Singapore. They are being converted into cargo jets by Elbe Flugzeugwerke, an Airbus-ST Engineering joint venture. 

Hawaiian had originally hoped to ramp up to operating 10 jets on behalf of Amazon by the end of 2024. But those plans have been derailed by “challenges of our business partner getting airplanes delivered through the cargo modification process with their vendor”, Ingram says. 

Hawaiian has been operating one A330F on behalf of Amazon since October 2023. 

“I’m very pleased that our operations were really strong through Amazon’s peak period in the latter part of last year and into the early part of this year,” he says. 

The cargo flights add a revenue stream that is not tied to the ”ebbs and flows of passenger demand in the airline business”, Ingram says. He adds that Hawaiian will “work to see if there’s more opportunities to expand the work we do with [Amazon] even further”. 

There are downsides to operating new aircraft, Ingram says, as the company has been weathering the inefficiencies of training personnel on the Boeing 787-9 and A330-300. 

”One of the things that is going to help our bottom line is getting full utilisation of all our aircraft is going to get through that bubble of training that adds a little bit of inefficiency to the airline and get back to where we’re operating on a more steady, measured, consistent basis,” he says. 

On the passenger side of its operation, Hawaiian currently has two A321neos grounded for Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) engine work, after peaking last year with five jets out of service.

“For what I can foresee right now, we’re over the worst of the issue,” he says. “We see the situation actually starting to get better over the next several months, but we know… this is going to be the subject of recurring inspections over time.”