Hawaiian Holdings has signed a letter of intent (LOI) to acquire turboprop aircraft from an unnamed supplier as part of plans to set up a new regional subsidiary in Hawaii.

The parent company of Hawaiian Airlines intends to acquire up to six used turboprops with 50 seats or less in order to set-up the new operation, says Peter Ingram, chief commercial officer of the airline, in an interview.

He did not provide a timeline, emphasising that they are only in the LOI stage.

Ingram says that the aircraft would primarily operate to smaller destinations, for example Lana'i and Moloka'i, that it cannot serve for either economic or operational reasons with Hawaiian's Boeing 717-200 aircraft. The majority of these flights would be to and from its Honolulu hub.

The turboprops could also be used on off-peak flights between the state's other large cities - Hilo, Kaluhui (Maui), Kona and Lihue - Ingram adds.

Hawaiian would compete with Island Air and Mokulele Airlines between Honolulu and both Lana'i and Moloka'i.

The airline also lowered its fares from 4% to 25% on inter-island travel in order to stimulate demand.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news