Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 787s Coming In 2023

Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 787s Coming In 2023

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With Boeing finally being able to resume deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner, I wanted to take an updated look at one of the upcoming Boeing 787 customers I’m most excited about.

Hawaiian Airlines’ order for 20 Boeing 787-9s

In 2018, Hawaiian Airlines placed an order for the Boeing 787-9 — the airline had a firm order for 10 jets, plus options for a further 10 jets.

Initially Hawaiian Airlines was supposed to take delivery of its first Boeing 787 in early 2021, so what’s the latest with that? As things stand, the airline is expected to take delivery of its first two Dreamliners in late 2023, so that marks a delay of well over two years. The delivery schedule will be gradual as well, and it’ll be 2026 at the earliest before all 10 planes are part of Hawaiian Airlines’ fleet.

Interestingly we’re still a year off from the first 787 delivery, even though a 787 has been in the full Hawaiian Airlines livery since mid-2021.

For context, Hawaiian Airlines’ fleet currently consists of 61 aircraft, including:

  • 24 Airbus A330-200s, which are currently the carrier’s only wide body jets, and they’re used for long haul routes to the mainland and abroad
  • 18 Airbus A321neos, which are all quite new, and which mostly operate flights to the west coast of the United States
  • 19 Boeing 717-200s, which are used exclusively for inter-island Hawaii flights

The Boeing 787 is a very exciting addition to Hawaiian Airlines’ fleet, in terms of capacity, fuel efficiency, and range. As it stands, Hawaiian Airlines intends to initially fly its Boeing 787s to the US mainland (presumably Boston and New York, which are the furthest destinations).

However, over time you can expect the plane to operate international flights as well, presumably to Asia and the South Pacific.

These planes would have the range to fly nonstop to Europe, and while this kind of service has been rumored for a long time, there’s no indication that this will happen. I could only see this happening if Hawaiian Airlines exercises its option for an extra 10 Boeing 787s, since 10 planes isn’t a whole lot to work with.

Hawaiian Airlines has a firm order for 10 Boeing 787-9s

Hawaiian Airlines’ new Boeing 787 business class

Arguably what’s most exciting about Hawaiian Airlines’ new Boeing 787s is that they’ll sport a new business class product. The planes are expected to feature 34 Adient Ascent business class seats. This highly customizable product is a joint venture between Adient and Boeing.

Initially Hawaiian Airlines was supposed to be the launch customer for this product, though Qatar Airways ended up taking that title with its new Boeing 787-9s. These seats are expected to be in a 1-2-1 configuration, with privacy doors at each seat, and the ability for some customers to have a double bed.

The Adient Ascent business class seat
The Adient Ascent business class seat

This will represent a huge upgrade for Hawaiian Airlines’ business class product. Hawaiian’s A330s feature fully flat beds in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Hawaiian Airlines’ A330 business class
Hawaiian Airlines’ A330 business class

Admittedly Hawaiian Airlines has a different business class customer profile than most airlines, given that Hawaii is primarily a leisure destination. You have a lot more couples traveling together than on other airlines, so the 2-2-2 configuration kind of makes sense.

Interestingly American Airlines is also considering Adient Ascent seats for its upcoming Boeing 787s, as the airline looks to refresh its business class seats.

Bottom line

Hawaiian Airlines has a firm order for 10 Boeing 787-9s, which are expected to join the carrier’s fleet as of late 2023. Unfortunately we’re still a ways off from these being delivered, and even when they are delivered, it’ll be a slow process. Nonetheless I’m excited about these planes, given that the improved efficiency, increased capacity, and new business class.

What do you make of Hawaiian Airlines’ upcoming Boeing 787s?

Conversations (23)
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  1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    So many assumptions here. Let's instead defer to a more credible source:

    https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/5062/2019-annual-report-final-for-posting.pdf

    Granted, these numbers are 2019, so pre-covid... but during the last "normal" year, Germans not Britons were the largest Euro-market to Hawaii; combined constituting approx 66% of the Europe-Hawaii market and dwarfing most of Europe's others. Approximately 78% of both arrived via US domestic transfers, the overwhelming majority into Oahu, and they pumped slightly more than a quarter billion into the state's...

    So many assumptions here. Let's instead defer to a more credible source:

    https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/5062/2019-annual-report-final-for-posting.pdf

    Granted, these numbers are 2019, so pre-covid... but during the last "normal" year, Germans not Britons were the largest Euro-market to Hawaii; combined constituting approx 66% of the Europe-Hawaii market and dwarfing most of Europe's others. Approximately 78% of both arrived via US domestic transfers, the overwhelming majority into Oahu, and they pumped slightly more than a quarter billion into the state's economy.

    What really stands out though, is that European's average daily spend upon arrival (at $151) was significantly lower than all other groups, with the Japanese, Oceanians, and Latin Americans outspending them by more than $100/day (the Chinese were the highest, at an average of $349/day).

    Non-interstate air fare isn't given in these data, so my next statement is anecdotally presumptive: but if Europeans are lagging that far behind on ground spend, it doesn't bode well for airfares to support a 13hr+ nonstop.

  2. O.K. Guest

    Ugh, yet another airline downgrading the customer experience for leisure travelers. The business class on the 787 might be nice (although I question the decision to install a product that doesn't have many seats where couples can sit together), but for economy class passengers, the new aircrafts will be clearly inferior to the a330. Most people care more about the seat than they do about new technologies like cabin pressurization. Compared to the a330’s 2-4-2...

    Ugh, yet another airline downgrading the customer experience for leisure travelers. The business class on the 787 might be nice (although I question the decision to install a product that doesn't have many seats where couples can sit together), but for economy class passengers, the new aircrafts will be clearly inferior to the a330. Most people care more about the seat than they do about new technologies like cabin pressurization. Compared to the a330’s 2-4-2 layout, the 787’s 3-3-3 layout has more middle seats, has no seats in pairs for couples traveling together, and makes the window seat passengers climb over two passengers to go to the bathroom (which never happens in an a330). Perhaps more importantly, the seats are about 0.7~0.8 inches narrower, which actually makes a huge difference when the average American is getting wider year after year. I’d love to try business class on the 787, but economy passengers should stick to a330 whenever possible.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      ...too bad 99.9% of them couldn't tell an A330 from a Dodge Durango, and wouldn't care to, if the fare was $20 cheaper.

      You're thinking like an AvGeek or seasoned traveler, which the overwhelming majority of the population (ESPECIALLY on a bucket&spade route) is decisively NOT.

    2. OneCommentAtATime Guest

      Most Americans don't know care about what type of plane it is. They only look at the price and see which one is cheap.
      You said that "Most people care more about the seat than they do about new technologies like cabin pressurization. " Would you enjoy sitting in a sofa seat on an un-pressured plane?

    3. Aviation_Fan New Member

      I've never understood this 2-4-2 vs 3-3-3 argument. Yes in 3-3-3 you have a middle seat in each section. But if you are travelling in a pair at least one person gets either an aisle or window. In the 2-4-2 sure the outside sections are great.... but you could also get stuck in the middle 2 seats of the 4. That is even worse (been there).

      If 2-4-2 is so great why didn't Airbus...

      I've never understood this 2-4-2 vs 3-3-3 argument. Yes in 3-3-3 you have a middle seat in each section. But if you are travelling in a pair at least one person gets either an aisle or window. In the 2-4-2 sure the outside sections are great.... but you could also get stuck in the middle 2 seats of the 4. That is even worse (been there).

      If 2-4-2 is so great why didn't Airbus do it (or a 2-5-2) on the 350?

      Besides, the airlines pick the seating sizes and configurations. So take it up with the airlines.

  3. Willie Forsure Makeit Guest

    Who cares.all arrive at the same time anyway.it is cost and safety that counts.

  4. James W Guest

    Europeans aren't as eager to visit Hawaii. They already have their warm-weather destinations close by (Spain, Malta, Egypt, etc.), and if they want to cross an ocean for palm trees, they go to Miami.

    Hawaii is HUGE with Japanese tourists, though. Focus on that market, and make a mint!

  5. shoeguy Gold

    I don't see a Hawaii-Europe nonstop route opening up any time soon, but if one did, eventually, I would think HA would be the one to do it. The market is there, but to a point and Hawaii has always been quite reachable via one stop (SFO, LAX, SAN, or SEA) from a lot of Europe. I don't see any Europe based airline seriously contemplating Hawaii service, except maybe BA.

    1. ChuckMO New Member

      Would be fun to see HA revive the old Western Airlines HNL-ANC-LGW (or LHR now?) route. Improbable of course.

  6. D3kingg Guest

    It’s not a good financial decision to commit to an order of 787s when the a330s are currently able to serve their long haul routes. Unless that changes down the road and a330s need to be retired then 787s can be acquired at a lower price point.

    1. shoeguy Gold

      The 787-9 is likely to be more efficient than the A330, though agree, the 332s are fairly new, with the first delivered in 2009 or 2010. For routes like HNL-JFK/SYD/AKL/BOS/BNE, the 787 might be a better plane to operate from an efficiency perspective.

    2. Always Flying Somewhere Guest

      Keep in mind that by the time the first 787 arrives, HA's oldest A330 will be almost 14 years old.

    3. shoeguy Gold

      14 years is nothing for US carriers. Plenty of jets flying in the US fleets that are 30+ years of age. 14 is practically new.

    4. Aviation_Fan New Member

      The 787 is a lot more fuel efficient than the A330s they are currently flying.

  7. uldguy Diamond

    Operating a daily Europe-Hawaii service will require three aircraft per route. That’s a lot of capital tied up to support an expectedly low yield leisure route. But maybe they can make it work. Many years ago BA used to offer a LHR-ANC-HNL service but I imagine the yields didn’t support it in the long term.

    1. Icarus Guest

      BA has never flown to HNL. I believe you’re thinking of Western Airlines HNL-ANC-LGW

      BOAC however, did operate NYC-SFO-HNL-HND-HKG in he 1950s

    2. uldguy Diamond

      Actually BA’s predecessor BOAC served Hawaii during the 60s and early 70s.

  8. D3kingg Guest

    Hawaiian Air doesn’t need 787s it’s going to be a long wait. Who is flying non stop from Europe to Hawaii ? Zero demand. The pineapple business can be lucrative.

    1. OneCommentAtATime Guest

      What do you mean? Who ever said that they where flying to Europe? Re-read the article please.

  9. Luke Guest

    HNL-LHR is a quite intriguing route but would imagine would need to sell a lot of premium seats consistently to make it work financially.

    1. Kaleb_With_A_K Gold

      Why would Europeans want to fly long haul to Hawaii when they can take a short hop to the Greek Islands, Spanish Islands, etc.?

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Why do people keep asking this strange question?

      It's like asking why would USAmericans want to go to Greece, or the Spanish Islands when the Caribbean is right there..... when millions upon millions go to the former ever year.

      More than to the Caribbean? Of course not.
      But no one said it had to be more, for a service to Greece/etc to exist.

  10. DLPTATL Diamond

    I've only flown them once on a SEA:HNL route in biz on the A330. I was a bit disappointed by the iPad entertainment option given it's not available until well after take-off and collected well before landing. The other big disappointment was that there was no way to pre-order a meal and the only GF snack available was macadamia nuts which are delicious, but they were stingy with them, even when I explained it was...

    I've only flown them once on a SEA:HNL route in biz on the A330. I was a bit disappointed by the iPad entertainment option given it's not available until well after take-off and collected well before landing. The other big disappointment was that there was no way to pre-order a meal and the only GF snack available was macadamia nuts which are delicious, but they were stingy with them, even when I explained it was the only thing I was going to be able to eat on the flight.

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James W Guest

Europeans aren't as eager to visit Hawaii. They already have their warm-weather destinations close by (Spain, Malta, Egypt, etc.), and if they want to cross an ocean for palm trees, they go to Miami. Hawaii is HUGE with Japanese tourists, though. Focus on that market, and make a mint!

3
ConcordeBoy Diamond

...too bad 99.9% of them couldn't tell an A330 from a Dodge Durango, and wouldn't care to, if the fare was $20 cheaper. You're thinking like an AvGeek or seasoned traveler, which the overwhelming majority of the population (ESPECIALLY on a bucket&spade route) is decisively NOT.

2
Aviation_Fan New Member

I've never understood this 2-4-2 vs 3-3-3 argument. Yes in 3-3-3 you have a middle seat in each section. But if you are travelling in a pair at least one person gets either an aisle or window. In the 2-4-2 sure the outside sections are great.... but you could also get stuck in the middle 2 seats of the 4. That is even worse (been there). If 2-4-2 is so great why didn't Airbus do it (or a 2-5-2) on the 350? Besides, the airlines pick the seating sizes and configurations. So take it up with the airlines.

1
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