The most punctual airline in the United States is facing a pair of notable delays affecting the company’s revenue. Hawaiian Airlines detailed the impact of aircraft delivery issues and new fare products that did not arrive on time. Neither is a catastrophic challenge for the carrier, however, and passengers should celebrate one of them.
The A321neo performs spectacularly for Hawaiian Airlines according to executives. The improved efficiency per passenger is significant, allowing the carrier to increase capacity while cutting its fuel consumption. That saved the company $10mm in the last quarter alone, not to mention the overall reduction in carbon emissions.
Alas, Airbus is having trouble getting deliveries out on time. Hawaiian is the third US carrier to make mention of the delays in earnings reports this quarter. JetBlue cut its growth forecast and slowed the interior retrofit on its older A320 fleet as a result. American Airlines is also slowing its growth and extending the life of some older planes to make up for the missing NEO aircraft.
For Hawaiian the impact includes delaying the addition of a second daily frequency between San Francisco and Honolulu. Originally slated to fly in Q2 ’19 the carrier now expects that service to operate no earlier than Q4. It is currently scheduled to launch eastbound on 16 October and return to the islands the following morning.
Main Cabin Basic Delays
While the carrier can blame a third party for aircraft shortages the delayed implementation of its Main Cabin Basic offering sits squarely on the airline. Announced in December 2018, the program was expected to be live in the second quarter. As with the Airbus issues the impact pushes the implementation out a half year.
Much like its competition, Hawaiian’s basic economy offering will restrict advanced seat assignments and checked baggage allowance. Passengers will be last to board. The carrier’s elite frequent flyer members will not receive their usual bonus points on flights booked on the Basic fares.
But this is a delay most travelers should be celebrating. As the rest of the industry has demonstrated, basic economy is just another way to raise fares. This delay means that travelers scored a months-long respite from that shift.
The company committed during its earnings call to have the program on sale soon, with passengers flying on the fare product before the end of the year.