$4.4 BILLION

That is what Hawaiian Airlines will pay Airbus for a fleet of planes that will extend the range of the local carrier's nonstop flights STORY SUMMARY » Hawaiian Airlines, taking a major step toward solidifying its future, has signed...


That is what Hawaiian Airlines will pay Airbus for a fleet of planes that will extend the range of the local carrier's nonstop flights

STORY SUMMARY »

Hawaiian Airlines, taking a major step toward solidifying its future, has signed deals to purchase up to 24 new wide-body aircraft that will give the airline the capability to fly nonstop from Hawaii to Asia, Australasia, the Americas and Europe.

The deal for the Airbus A330 and A350 jets, worth up to $4.4 billion, represents the largest single investment in Hawaiian's 78-year history and will result in the complete overhaul of Hawaiian's long-haul fleet, which now consists of 18 Boeing 767-300s.

Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive of Hawaiian, said it is likely that Hawaiian could one day be looking at Singapore, London and Paris as future nonstop destinations.

The agreements call for Hawaiian to acquire six 305-seat A330-200s and six 322-seat A350XWB-800s. Hawaiian also has purchase rights to buy an additional six of each aircraft. The first A330-200 is due to be delivered to Hawaiian in 2012, with the first A350XWB-800 scheduled for delivery in 2017.

Airbus A350XWB-800

» Aircraft : Six extra-wide-body planes, with purchase rights for an additional six

» Seats : 322

» Range : 7,935 miles

» Delivery date : 2017

» Potential destinations : Nonstop between Hawaii and Asia, Australia, the Americas and Europe

FULL STORY »

Hawaiian Airlines, making the largest single investment in its 78-year history, has signed agreements worth as much as $4.4 billion to purchase up to 24 new long-range aircraft that will give the airline the capability to fly nonstop from Hawaii to Asia, Australasia, the Americas and Europe.

The agreements announced yesterday call for Hawaiian to acquire six wide-body Airbus A330-200s that will seat 305 passengers and have a range of 6,325 miles, and six extra-wide-body Airbus A350XWB-800s that will seat 322 passengers and have a range of 7,935 miles. Hawaiian also has purchase rights to acquire an additional six aircraft of each type.

The new planes, made by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS with engines from Rolls-Royce Group PLC, will gradually replace Hawaiian's existing long-range fleet of 18 Boeing 767-300s, which have a seating capacity ranging from 252 to 264 passengers and have an average age of 12 years.

Hawaiian will continue to operate 11 Boeing 717-200s -- with a seating capacity of 123 passengers -- for interisland flights. The 717s have an average age of six years.

"These agreements with Airbus and Rolls-Royce are important steps in a long-range fleet plan that provides not only for fleet renewal, but also for growth in our business," said Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive of Hawaiian. "We are building flexibility into the plan with some aircraft purchased, some to be leased and having options for others, which will allow us to scale the fleet according to our needs and opportunities over the next two decades."

Stock analyst Nick Capuano, who covers the airline for Los Angeles-based Imperial Capital LLC, said the deal opens up a new world for Hawaiian.

"It certainly looks like a vote of confidence in their capability of addressing the trans-Pac market," Capuano said. "Up until now they were locked into the West Coast market. They haven't been able to go directly into other markets because they don't have a feeder system. So the longer-range aircraft will certainly expand their capacity and allow them to cherry-pick other markets not available to them now."

Hawaiian said it expects to sign definitive purchase agreements in early 2008 following the completion of documentation.

The first new A330-200 is due to be delivered to Hawaiian in 2012, with the first A350XWB-800 scheduled for delivery in 2017. In the meantime, Hawaiian's agreements allow it to lease additional A330 aircraft for introduction into its fleet as early as 2009.

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