Hawaiian considers electric inter-island aircraft fleet


The Honolulu-based carrier, operating a stable network of connections with neighboring islands, is looking forward to replacing its senescent fleet of Boeing 717s. 

“Neighbour island routes provide an interesting application for electrification of aircraft,” said Peter Ingram, the CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, in an analyst call. “We have a lot of traffic that travels between 100 and 250 miles, so the replacement with electric aircraft on those routes is more foreseeable rather than [an aircraft] that has to fly 2,500 miles to get to the West Coast.”

Ingram also indicated that the first commercially approved electric aircraft will not be available until the mid-2030s and might not be considered as a replacement for their soon to be retired Boeing 717s.

“But that said, the electrification of regional aircraft along with the battery technology may not yet be mature enough in time for when the 717s begin exiting the fleet,” said Ingram. “The technology is still a ways off, and I can see it, but it may be a generation or two of replacement aircraft [first].”

The airline currently operates 18 Airbus A321s, 23 Airbus A330s, 15 Boeing 717s, and has ordered 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners expected to operate in the fleet from 2022.

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