The newly-appointed president and chief executive officer for Hawaiian Airlines held a town hall for Phoenix-based employees on Wednesday.
CEO Peter Ingram talked in Phoenix about the future for the airline and answered any questions the Phoenix-based crew had for him.
In an interview with ABC15, he addressed the airlines potential future in the market, the recent volcanic activity in Hawaii and how he views competition to the tourist destination.
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES FUTURE IN PHOENIX
With Terminal 3 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport already in the midst of a multi-million dollar renovation , what does that mean for the Hawaiian-based airline? Will Phoenix see more flights to Honolulu or other Hawaii cities?
Not sure yet, but it is a possibility.
The airline is in the process of transitioning its fleet, said Ingram. Right now, the airline uses Boeing 767 aircraft to fly daily between Phoenix and Honolulu. It is anticipated that either the Airbus A321neo (new engine option) or the Airbus 330-200 will replace the airline's service between Phoenix and Honolulu.
"Depending on how we make those decisions, one of the things we'll look at is, does it make sense for us to add service, either more service to Honolulu or even direct service to one of the neighbor islands such as Maui?" he said.
Hawaiian Airlines has not yet publicly announced which aircraft it will use in Phoenix. That's not expected to be finalized until early next year. However, if you were to book on Hawaiianairlines.com for January travel right now, it shows a seat map for the Phoenix to Honolulu flight on the Airbus 321.
SOUTHWEST SET TO JOIN HAWAII MARKET
Currently, Southwest does not have plans to fly to and from Hawaii via Phoenix Sky Harbor. Instead, those flights will depart from California cities.
Ingram sees the addition of Southwest Airlines to Hawaii just like any other competitor.
"There's a long list of competitors we've dealt with before. Southwest is a terrific airline, but we've built our business around being the Hawaii experts, providing a level of service and hospitality that is rooted in Hawaiian culture. I think we can deliver that far better than anyone else in an authentic way that has proven over time to provide value to our guests," Ingram told ABC15.
Hawaiian Airlines already competes with U.S. airlines like Alaska, American, Delta and United.
VOLCANO IN HAWAII
Hawaii has also been in the news lately because several communities have been evacuated after the Kilauea Volcano began erupting at the beginning of the month.
However, the volcanic activity is not close to Oahu's major airport, Honolulu.
Hawaii is open for business, Ingram said.
"In terms of our day to day operations, the eruptions are far from the airports so were operating as normal," he said.
"There is still an awful lot to see in Hawaii. Depending on if the eruptions are interrupting activities at Volcanoes National Park, that may be a side trip you can't do, but pretty much everything else in Hawaii is open for business."
If you have an upcoming flight to Honolulu or Kahului you should not be impacted by the volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.