Hawaiian Airlines will upgrade its fleet with as many as 24 new Airbus wide-body jets over the next 15 years, investing up to $4.4 billion to acquire the new jets. The investment is worth more than five times Hawaiian''s assets of $877 million.
Hawaiian also said that the deal with Airbus and engine maker Rolls-Royce includes an option to lease additional aircraft from Airbus that it could put into service as early as 2009.
Under a memorandum of understanding with Airbus and Rolls Royce, Hawaiian said it would acquire six wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft and six extra-wide-body A350XWB-800 jets.
Hawaiian also said that the agreement also gives it the right to purchase an additional six A330-200s and six A350XWB-800s.
According to Hawaiian, Airbus would deliver the first of its new A330-200s to Hawaiian in 2012.
The A330 has a range of 5,500 nautical miles and can carry 305 passengers, 45 more than Hawaiian''s existing planes. The aircraft is also more fuel-efficient.
The A350 can hold 322 passengers and has a range of about 6,900 nautical miles, which would allow Hawaiian to fly non-stop from Hawaii to anywhere in North America, South America, Asia or Europe.
The first of the A350s will join Hawaiian''s fleet in 2017.
Hawaiian said it hopes to sign a definitive purchase agreement early next year.
Hawaiian has not specified new routes that it hopes to target, but the company confirmed that growth in the international markets is part of its long-term strategy. Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian''s chief executive officer, said that the new Airbus jets could travel non-stop from Hawaii to Hong Kong and Singapore, for example.