Honolulu’s Hawaiian Airlines today announced an order for 16 Airbus A-321neo aircraft to be delivered to the airline between 2017 and 2020.
The Airbus orders were bad news for two Northwest companies, Boeing and Alaska Airlines.
In picking the Airbus A-321neo as its new single-aisle jet, Hawaiian continued its trend of buying aircraft from Europe’s Airbus instead of Boeing. Hawaiian was once an all-Boeing carrier with short-range Boeing 717s and long-range Boeing 767-300ERs in its fleet.
But in recent years, Hawaiian has been replacing its 767s with Airbus A330 aircraft. And the company has also ordered Airbus’s A350 new generation transports instead of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
In picking the A-321neos, Hawaiian decided against the comparable Boeing plane, the 737 Max 9.
The acquisition of the new single-aisle jets could be bad news for SeaTac-based Alaska because the new planes will allow Hawaiian to enter the smaller markets on the U.S. mainland where Alaska has made inroads in recent years.
In markets such as Bellingham to Honolulu and Maui, Alaska flies 160-seat Boeing 737-800s. The only planes that Hawaiian operates that have the range for the flight are larger twin-aisle aircraft such as the A330s and 767s. The Hawaiian A330s hold 294 passengers. The 767s accommodate 264, too many for smaller markets.
Hawaiian’s new A321neos will have the range to reach the islands from the West Coast but will carry only 190 passengers.