Hawaiian Airlines is growing its air freight business under a new deal to operate cargo aircraft for online retail giant Amazon.com.
Hawaiian Holdings, Inc, the parent company of Hawaiian Airlines, announced that it had entered an agreement with Amazon.com, Inc. and its subsidiaries to operate and maintain an initial fleet of 10 Airbus A330-300 freighters, starting late 2023.
Under the agreement, Hawaiian Airlines will maintain and fly the e-commerce company’s A330s under Hawaiian’s (HA) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air carrier certificate to move cargo between airports near Amazon’s operations facilities.
Depending on Amazon’s business needs, the fleet can be expanded.
“We are excited to help serve Amazon customers by providing additional air cargo capacity and logistics support,” Peter Ingram, president and CEO at Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement.
Ingram added:“This recognizes our experience in providing safe and reliable operations, our incredible front-line team, and our shared focus on the customer.This relationship provides a catalyst to grow our business and the unique opportunity to diversify our revenue sources while capitalizing on our established strengths.”
“We’re thrilled to work with Hawaiian Airlines,” Sarah Rhoads, vice president, Amazon Global Air said.
“They will maintain and operate the next generation of aircraft in our fleet, which is a reflection of the excellence they deliver as a renowned airline with their own A330 aircraft,” Rhoads concluded.
Hawaiian Airlines said that in preparation for the Amazon partnership, it intends to establish a pilot base on the continental U.S, grow existing maintenance bases, and expand the hiring of pilots, mechanics, dispatchers, supply chain employees and others who will help support the new cargo operation.
The deal may also see Amazon become a major shareholder in the airline. Hawaiian Airlines, which had been one of six US bidders for the contract, said that it will issue warrants to Amazon that will confer a stake of up to 15% in the airline holding company. The warrants are exercisable over the next 9 years.
Shares of Hawaiian Holdings Inc jumped after news of the cargo deal, closing up almost 9% on October 21, 2022.