Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t expect its first Boeing 787-9 jets to take wing until 2022 or 2023, following discussions with Boeing to “re-pace” the delivery of those Dreamliners in light of reduced demand and cash constraints.
“We have continued to have productive discussions with Boeing to re-pace our 787 order,” airline president and CEO Peter Ingram noted this morning during a conference call on Hawaiian’s Q2 2020 earnings, which he said reflected “the continued impact of COVID-19 and State of Hawai'i quarantines on our business.”
“While not finalised, we do not expect to put the first two 787s into service until 2022 or 2023."
Hawaiian Airlines has ten Boeing 787-9s on order, with with purchase rights for ten more, with the intent of them replacing the older Airbus A330-200s. It previously planned to begin flying the Dreamliner in early 2021 with deliveries stretching through to 2025.
When those Boeing 787-9s do arrive, they could also help Hawaiian forge new non-stop routes. “The Boeing 787 gives us many interesting possibilities such as London and Perth,” Ingram has previously remarked.
The fuel-efficient Dreamliner will serve as the launchpad for Hawaiian’s new lie-flat business class seat, designed by Adient Aerospace, which is part owned by Boeing.
This is an evolved version of Adient’s original Ascent business class seat concept, as shown below.
The customisable Ascent can come with or without privacy doors, as well as wireless device charging – Hawaiian hasn’t revealed if it ticked those boxes on the order form.
A panel between the middle seats can however be lowered, even if the beds run at angles to one another rather than snugly side by side.
Hawaiian Airlines will also be styling the Ascent to suit its own more tropical palette.
While Hawaiian Airlines will be Adient’s launch customer for the Ascent, the seat maker is also shopping around its new Aspect business class design, which brings a fully flat bed and direct aisle access to single-aisle jets, which are expected to become more popular in the post-pandemic travel era.
“As the market returns we think it only accelerates that [shift] and points towards narrow-body aircraft becoming very prevalent in future,” Adient Aerospace CEO Andy Masson notes.