Hawaiian Airlines is focused on developing its entry-into-service plans for the Airbus A321neo, which it will begin taking from the airframer in 2017.

The Honolulu-based carrier tentatively plans to use the aircraft for three general missions: new routes between existing destinations, splitting schedules to existing cities and shifting seasonal routes to year-round status, says Hawaiian’s vice-president of revenue management and network planning Brent Overbeek at World Routes 2015 in Durban.

He explains that when referring to "splitting schedules" he is thinking of cities with one daily flight on either an Airbus A330 or Boeing 767 from Honolulu – like Portland, Sacramento and San Diego – and shifting them to two daily flights split between Honolulu and Kahului (Maui) on the A321neo.

“The A321neo is going to be a great airplane for those [missions],” says Overbeek.

Hawaiian has 16 A321neos – not the longer-range A321neo LR variant – on order, Ascend Fleets shows.

Growth will be muted until the A321neos begin arriving. Hawaiian announced in July plans to lease a single A330-200 from ALC from the second quarter of 2016, an aircraft that Overbeek says will be used for growth.

While he declines to specify whether it will be used to add a new destination or increase frequency within Hawaiian's network, he does say that an announcement is likely in the “near future”.

Hawaiian has allowed its network to mature since launching Beijing in April 2014. While the strong US dollar and declining fuel surcharges have taken a bite out of its Asia-Pacific revenues, Overbeek says lower fuel prices and some schedule changes have partially mitigated these impacts.

For example, the airline has retimed its Auckland and Brisbane flights to improve connections to Australia from the mainland USA, he says. This has driven an increase in the number of US passengers connecting from places like Phoenix and Portland over Honolulu.

“There’s additional opportunities from the US point-of-sale as the US dollar strengthens,” says Overbeek on the Australia flights.

Source: Cirium Dashboard