Hawaiian Airlines picks the Dreamliner

Hawaiian Airlines made it official: The carrier will be a 787 Dreamliner operator starting in 2021. The news was first suggested two weeks ago and confirmed today with Hawaiian’s announcement of a non-binding Letter of Intent to take 10 787-9 aircraft with options on a further 10. The order is expected to be finalized in Q2 ’18. The aircraft will be powered by the General Electric GEnx engine.

“The Dreamliner combines excellent comfort for our guests with fantastic operational performance and will allow us to continue modernizing our fleet into the next decade,” said Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram. “It has more seating capacity than Hawaiian’s current wide-body fleet, which will allow us to further build upon our successful growth in Asia.”

The Dreamliner order finally kills off an old Airbus order that started with the A350-800. As that product was retired Hawaiian converted to the A330neo family. Officially that order was for a –800 but in the announcement Hawaiian indicates that the decision also included the A330-900 as an option. “We were in the enviable position of choosing between two outstanding models for our flagship aircraft of the future and I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of adding the Dreamliner to Hawaiian’s fleet,” remarked Ingram.

Read More: Second guessing the A330neo

For its part Airbus continues to believe that the A330neo will attract orders as 767s come up for replacement. Arguably this order was supposed to be one of those, augmenting the 24 A330-200s Hawaiian has in its fleet. The first A330-800 recently rolled out of the paint shop with expectation of beginning its flight test program in mid-2018. It does so with zero firm orders. That is uncommon but not impossible to overcome.

It is worth noting that Hawaiian must negotiate inclusion of the new aircraft in its contracts with the Air Line Pilots Association and the Association of Flight Attendants, a requirement prior to final approval of the purchase by the company’s Board of Directors.

The rendering of the cabin shows in-seat IFE screens but no radome atop the fuselage. This keeps with Hawaiian’s history of providing entertainment on its twin-aisle aircraft but not inflight internet connectivity.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. It will be very interesting to see what HA will do their A332s. I suspect they will keep some of them to fly the high demand U.S. markets, as well as those international routes that don’t require extra range. If they go forward with all 20, it will be even more interesting if they look at getting the proposed B797.

    1. The MOM/NMA/797 is a timing challenge. It probably doesn’t show up until 2025ish and Hawaiian is (at least in theory) taking these a few years earlier. There’s also a range challenge with the NMA. It is supposed to be significantly shorter range (~5200nm is predicted http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?R=5200nm%40hnl) than the 787s so how would that work for Hawaiian’s theoretical plans to expand further into Asia?

      I doubt the A332s go anywhere for a long while.

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