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Hawaiian Airlines Welcomes First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to Fleet

Hawaiian Airlines Welcomes First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to Fleet

BY ÖYKüM GELEN Published on February 25, 2024 0 COMMENTS

Hawaiian Airlines officially welcomed its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on February 23. With registration N781HA, the aircraft arrived at Honolulu's Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) from Charleston International Airport (CHS) in South Carolina on February 14. Boeing has a facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, that serves as the final assembly and delivery point for the 787 Dreamliner family. 


Hawaiian Airlines' first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in Honolulu (HNL) | Photo: Hawaiian Airlines


The 787-9 Dreamliner will become the airline's future long-haul fleet, with N781HA entering service on April 15. Although Hawaiian Airlines ordered this aircraft in 2018 with an expected arrival in 2021, the delivery was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.




Peter Ingram, President and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, said about the delivery:


"This day has been a long time coming - in fact, today marks almost six years to the date when we first announced our investment in the 787-9 as the new flagship fleet for our company. Mahalo to Boeing for working collaboratively with us as we adjusted the delivery schedule and to our entire 787-9 team for managing our project and getting our first aircraft to its new home here in Honolulu."


The 787-9 Dreamliner receiving a Hawaiian welcome | Photo: Hawaiian Airlines


Over 1,500 employees attended an event to celebrate the aircraft's arrival. The plane was welcomed with a traditional Hawaiian blessing and ceremony at Charles I. Elliott Maintenance and Cargo Facility.


Darren Hulst, Boeing's Vice President of Commercial Marketing, said:


"From the moment you step onboard, you will see that the Hawaiian culture is woven into the design of this 787 Dreamliner. It immediately connects passengers to the beauty of the islands. It's an honor to know this airplane will bring Hawaii to the world for years to come."


During the blessing | Photo: Hawaiian Airlines


A Traditional Welcome


The employees and guests attended the ceremony and aircraft tours. Hawaiian Airlines is introducing a new interior for the passengers and a unique premium service experience. Early Polynesian voyages inspired the interior, and the premium service is named Leihoku Suites. The aircraft is the first of 12 aircraft that Hawaiian Airlines expects to receive from Boeing until 2027.




Charlie Morris, a Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330 first officer who will soon change to flying the 787-9 Dreamliners, stated:


"You can tell right away when you first step on the aircraft that a lot of thought went into it; elements of Hawai'i are evident in all corners of the plane. I am extremely excited to start flying it and to get the show on the road."


Another view of the 787-9 Dreamliner at HNL | Photo: Hawaiian Airlines


The Aircraft's Name


Hawaiian Airlines has a tradition of giving culturally important names to all aircraft in its fleet. The airline's widebody long-haul fleet is named under the stars and constellations utilized in the traditions of Polynesian navigators. The official name of N781HA has been revealed as Kapuahi, the brightest star in the Taurus constellation. It shows up in the Pacific sky alongside Makali'i, a celestial cluster of significant importance in Hawaiian storytelling, agriculture, and navigation.


Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, Hawaiian Airlines' Director of Community and Cultural Relations, said: 


"As we journey across the Pacific and take people to and from Hawai'i on our planes, it is in the same spirit and tradition of Hawaiian voyaging. Our kinship with voyaging is rooted in our past, grounds us in our present, and guides us toward our future. This connection is reflected in the design of our Boeing 787-9s, which further this effort to mingle with the stars and look to the constellations for direction as way finders often do in the canoe."


Inside Hawaiian's 787-9 Dreamliners


Hawaiian's 787-9 Dreamliners have a 300-seat configuration with 34 first-class suites in a 1-2-1 configuration. The first-class suites have lie-flat seats, an 18-inch (46-centimeter) entertainment system, wireless charging pads, personal power outlets, and a door for privacy. The middle seats can be combined into a double suit.


The suites | Photo: Hawaiian Airlines


The other 266 seats of the standard cabin were designed with the collaboration of Adient Aerospace with better comfort and increased shoulder and hip room. All seats include USB-A and USB-C charging ports. The panels inside depict native wood grains, the floor is inspired by volcanic sand, and the native language is engraved into the seat row numbers and other areas.


The standard suites | Photo: Hawaiian Airlines


The First Passenger Flight


The aircraft's first passenger flight will be operated on April 15 after the airlines conduct familiarization between Hawaii and the North American stations by flights that will continue for two months.


Darren Hulst, Peter Ingram and flight crew in front of the Boeing 787-9 | Photo: Hawaiian Airlines


N780HA is expected to be named and delivered in March. By the end of the year, Hawaiian Airlines will be operating with three of its 12 787s on order. The carrier's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service will expand to Los Angeles (LAX) and Phoenix (PHX) on May 15 and 16, respectively. The long-awaited arrival of the Dreamliner is one of the milestones for HA, which has become the first major airline to deploy Starlink WiFi.


Starlink WiFi will also be added to Hawaiian's Airbus A321neo fleet as the carrier prepares to merge with Alaska Airlines. Alaska announced last year their aim to buy Hawaiian while celebrating the carrier's 95th anniversary this year. 


Ingram added about the 787-9 Dreamliner's arrival:


"Ultimately, the 787-9 is more than just a new aircraft. It represents an exciting growth phase for our company as we build on our 95 years of service and connects more people with Aloha. I am excited for you to be among the first to see it and even more excited for our employees to see it for the first time along with their 'ohana. They have waited a long time for this special day."


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Öyküm Gelen
Hey there, I'm Öyküm Gelen, and I'm all about weaving stories that take you to new places. Writing is my jam, and each sentence is like a little journey on its own. But there's more to me than just words; I'm also fascinated by airplanes. Whether I'm exploring the skies in my writing or geeking out about aviation, I can't get enough of it. And guess what? I'm not just about words and wings – I'm knee-deep in the world of architecture studies. Designing structures that stand tall is my other passion. So, in the mix of storytelling, aviation dreams, and architecture plans, I'm Öyküm, bringing a blend of creativity and curiosity to the table.

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