Hawaiian Air expands its service to West Coast
Flight attendants will be hired and furloughed pilots recalled to staff more flights to five cities
Hawaiian Airlines is expanding its West Coast-Hawaii service, recalling 22 furloughed pilots and hiring about 100 flight attendants to crew the four additional Boeing 767s it will add to its fleet later this year.
HAWAIIAN RAMPS UP
Highlights of Hawaiian Air's growth plan:
Hiring:100 new flight attendants
Recalling:22 furloughed pilots
Increasing service:Extra flights on its Maui-Seattle, Maui-Portland, Maui-San Diego, Honolulu-Seattle, Honolulu-Sacramento and Honolulu-Los Angeles routes
The carrier, which has said its hands were tied during its 26-month bankruptcy that ended in June, is increasing existing service to San Diego; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Los Angeles.
The flights will be added from either Honolulu or Maui, and most will start in September, October and November. Extra flights to Los Angeles will be added in the summer of 2007.
"We've actually been in a situation where we see more opportunity than we have airplanes available to exploit them," said Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive of Hawaiian. "So the issue for us was ranking the opportunities."
Hawaiian determined its highest priority was the West Coast, where the carrier has been successful so far but faces increasing competition, Dunkerley said.
The airline is increasing its Maui-San Diego service from summer-only service that begins June 9 to daily flights starting Sept. 6. In doing so, Hawaiian will compete head to head with Aloha Airlines, which also flies daily from Maui to San Diego.
Among Hawaiian's schedule changes:
» Maui-Seattle flights will increase from four times a week to daily beginning Oct. 13.
» Maui-Portland will go from three times a week to daily starting Oct. 13.
» Honolulu-Sacramento, already a daily route, will gain four more flights a week beginning Nov. 19.
» Honolulu-Seattle, also a daily route, will be offered three additional times a week from Nov. 19 through May.
» A Honolulu-Los Angeles flight added during the peak summer season will increase service from four times a week to daily next year.
Dunkerley said Hawaiian Air continues to study new markets.
"I don't think our announcement today signifies any evaporation of our interest or desire to expand to other cities or expand internationally," Dunkerley said. "It was really a question of how we apply these new resources to a list that is longer than the number of new airplanes."
Kirk McBride, master executive council chairman of Hawaiian's pilots union, said the airline is moving in the right direction again.
"We are elated that we are now recalling pilots from furlough and we are seeing the company expanding," he said.
The new flight attendants will be based in Hawaii and trained by the company, Dunkerley said.
"These would be local jobs, further enhancing Hawaiian's position as a major employer in the state and further contributing to the tax base," Dunkerley said.
He said the new flight attendants will not necessarily be from other airlines.
"I have no concerns about there being a shortage of people who would like to come to work for Hawaiian Airlines," Dunkerley said.
The starting pay for Hawaiian flight attendants begins at $21 an hour and goes up to $45 an hour for senior flight attendants, with typical flying hours a month ranging from 75 to 100. Flight attendants also get add-ons, such as compensation for incidental expenses, and the pay scale ramps up quickly in the first five years.
Dunkerley said the additional employees would increase the number of Hawaiian pilots to just more than 300 and the number of flight attendants to more than 800. The company has about 3,500 employees.
The four additional aircraft that are making the changes possible -- 266-seat, long-range models bought for approximately $8.9 million each -- are the only planes that Hawaiian owns in its otherwise leased fleet. With the new planes, Hawaiian will have 18 767s and 11 Boeing 717s. The 717s are used for interisland flights. One of the 767s in the Hawaiian fleet will be kept as a spare aircraft to cover operational needs, Dunkerley said.