The time has come to replace Hawaiian Airlines’ fleet of Boeing 717-200 aircraft. There are 19 of these twinjets in the fleet, which dart back and forth on inter-island routes for the airline many times each day.

It is a bit of a conundrum for the airline, as the current plane is perfect for the routes it operates. Given a choice, Hawaiian would probably buy more of them, but the last one rolled off the production line in 2006.

Why Not Go Second Hand?

Currently just three airlines operate the Boeing 717 – Delta Air Lines, QantasLink in Australia and Hawaiian Airlines. QantasLink have sold their entire fleet to Delta for parts and spares, with their last commercial service scheduled for July 2024.

That leaves just two airlines, and with the acquisition of planes for spares, it looks like the Atlanta based airline will be using them for quite some time to come. There is not much of a second hand market and with so few planes flying, not too many spares to go around.

Replace Hawaiian 717s With…

According to Brian Sumers in The Airline Oberserver, he spoke to the Hawaiian CEO and the choices are as follows. Either brand new Airbus A220s or Embraer E195-E2 aircraft, or, as a short term solution, second hand Airbus A319 or A320s.

The crux of the matter is that to replace Hawaiian’s 717s, an aircraft is needed that has robust engines. A demanding schedule means the planes fly in a high cycle environment – that means many short flights throughout the day.

In the past, this has been too much for certain aircraft types. It was found some engines were unable to cool sufficiently between flights. That meant extending turnaround times and reducing the amount of services per day.

Should Airbus or Embraer win the contract for new planes, the ball will be firmly in Pratt & Whitney’s court. Their geared turbofan powers both types, so you can be sure that a sternly worded contract filled with guarantees would be foremost on Hawaiian’s list!

Overall Thoughts

What will replace Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 717s? The jury is out for the moment. Since the airline operates the Airbus A321, they may go for the short term solution and get Airbus A319s and A320s.

Personally, I think they will choose the Airbus A220 or the Embraer 195-E2. That depends on engine guarantees, but also on the cashflow of the business. If they can handle a new purchase, they should do that, otherwise go with the second hand planes.

What do you think the Honolulu based airline will do and why? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by FRED via Wikimedia Commons.
QantasLink 717 by planegeezer via Wikimedia Commons.
SWISS A220 by Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons.