Executive Traveller exclusive
Hawaiian Airlines says it will “indefinitely suspend” flight to Brisbane, almost two years after the carrier halted all flights to Australia at the outset of the pandemic, and close to a decade since it began flying to the Queensland capital in November 2012.
A spokesperson for Hawaiian Airlines confirmed the decision to Executive Traveller this morning.
The move will see Sydney remaining as the airline’s sole Australian destination, with flights to Honolulu and connections to 16 other cities on the US mainland.
“This is a difficult decision but like many other airlines we find ourselves rebuilding our network in a vastly different operating environment,” said Andrew Stanbury, Regional Director of Australia and New Zealand at Hawaiian Airlines.
Hawaiian resumed flights between Sydney and Honolulu in mid-December on its 278-seat Airbus A330 aircraft featuring 18 Premium Cabin business class lie-flat seats, 68 Extra Comfort seats, and 192 Main Cabin economy seats.
Though a codeshare partnership with Virgin Australia, travellers from Brisbane – and anywhere else in Australia – can make their way to Sydney to join those Hawaiian flights.
Dreamliner on the cards
As previously reported, Hawaiian Airlines expects to take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 in August 2022, with two Dreamliners due by year's end.
“The first one is going to be delivered to us in August of next year, we'll have another one by the end of 2022 so we’ll have two in service by the end of 2022 or the very beginning of 2023,” Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram told Executive Traveller in 2021.
“Our plan is to initially fly those to the US mainland, but ultimately we want to put those aeroplanes on long-haul routes where we can really take advantage of the unparalleled fuel efficiency of the aircraft, to places with strong demand and high load factors.”
While this may well include New Yorkers seeking a tropical getaway – the 11 hour stretch from Gotham’s sidewalks to Honolulu’s beaches certainly qualifies as long-haul – Japan (a perennial source of premium visitors) and Australia are also on Ingram’s radar.
“Sydney certainly fits the bill for that, so I I think it is very possible you’ll see (the Boeing 787-9) in Sydney in the not-too-distant future”, he predicts.
But just how distant will that be?
Ingram says Hawaiian’s delivery schedule will skip 2023. “We had intended to induct our first Dreamliner by the second quarter of 2021; however, the pandemic led us to reschedule the deliveries of our 10 aircraft between the end of 2022 and 2026.”
The fuel-efficient Dreamliner will also serve as the launchpad for Hawaiian’s new lie-flat business class seat, designed by Adient Aerospace, which is part owned by Boeing.
The Ascent seat is shown here from Adient’s own photos, and doesn’t reflect any customisation and styling that will be done by Hawaiian to suit its own more tropical palette.
The 1-2-1 layout affords direct aisle access for every passenger, while there’s also a selection of storage nooks plus some tiered shelving and a very large video screen.
While Hawaiian Airlines was supposed to be the launch customer for the Ascent, its decision to delay the Boeing 787-9s plus a need by Qatar Airways to fast-track its own Dreamliners lead to the Gulf carrier being first to fly the Ascent.
Qatar optioned up the Ascent with sliding privacy doors and wireless smartphone charging – it’s not known if Hawaiian has ticked those same boxes on the order form.
Also TBA: will Hawaiian’s Dreamliner suites tap the ability to pair the two middle seats into what Adient describes as a “Cabana Suite... where couples can enjoy a movie or meal together”?
What we do know is that Hawaiian Airlines’ Boeing 787-9s will be crowned by 34 business class suites – one row more than Qatar’s Dreamliners – with 267 economy seats behind the curtain.
There’ll be no premium economy cabin, just Hawaiian’s small but popular Extra Comfort section with additional legroom, an amenity kit and early boarding to settle into your seat and make sure you claim the overhead luggage bin.