Hawaiian Airlines (HA) is doing well. Very well. So they’re looking at future opportunities to new markets, with London being possibly touted as the first ever direct link between Hawaii and Europe. Up till now, not even charter airlines dared to venture down this long haul leisure market path.
But with new more fuel efficient technology, new aircraft being ordered and entering the fleet, it seems as though the airline is mulling its options re: flights to London and beyond from their main hub Honolulu (HNL) on the island of Oahu.
The airline has ordered the Airbus A330-800NEO (as in the new, completely state of the art version of their current A330-200 fleet) which has instantly increased the airline’s capability to fly long haul routes.
Currently HA mostly flies medium haul flights 9-10 hour flights from Honolulu to cities in South East Asia such as Hong Kong, Manila, Taipei, Tokyo and Seoul – a bit further afield to the South Pacific and Oceania to places like Pago Pago in American Samoa and Sydney, Australia – domestic operations to LAX, San Francisco, Portland, San Diego, Las Vegas and even further out to New York JFK.
But if any new operations to Europe were to open, this would mark a new chapter in the airline’s history and a departure from their current model of flying – any flight to Europe would be considered an ‘ultra long haul’ – as in a flight that’s 14 hours plus.
When queried about the topic, Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Duknerknly did not rule the option out but also didn’t give a definite time frame as to when new flights would start. Surely it would depend on when the new aircraft, that make the flight economically viable, arrive. Duknerkly also said:
The first deliveries of A330-800neo will not happen before 2019, while next year the airline will receive its first A321neo of the sixteen who ordered. The latter will be used to replace the A330-200 used for flights on the West Coast of the United States, which instead will be used for flights to Asia.
So we’re still a while out before we see the famous Hawaiian tail at Heathrow – but it’s a notable development that a non-stop from Hawaii to Europe is even being considered.This is after all an airline that’s seriously on the up – a new fully flat bed product on their A330, a new closer partnership with American (good news, oneworld elites!) and a very profitable network.
The idea of Europe to Hawaii is one that’s been touted but laughed at for a long time. No one’s laughing now.