Hawaiian's options, Air NZ wi-fi and 'more business' Dreamliners

Hawaiian Airlines chief executive Mark Dunkerley re-examines long-haul aircraft

Nevil Gibson's weekly business travel roundup also includes Bombardier's bigger US duty and new business jet.

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Hawaiian rethinks long-haul options
Hawaiian Airlines is having second thoughts about buying six A330-800neos (new engine options), CNN reports. This would be the second time it has changed what long-range aircraft it wants to buy. Airbus in 2014 canned plans for a smaller version of the A350 XWB that the airline had ordered. Instead it ordered the A330s for use in 2019. Now, chief executive Mark Dunkerley says the tepid sales for the A330s have Hawaiian weighing whether it is "the right airplane for us" or whether it will turn instead to Boeing. "We're still a big believer in the [Airbus] programme but we also know that Boeing has some terrific alternatives which we're also interested in looking at," he told CNN. The A330-800 has a 7500 nautical mile range, meaning Hawaiian could connect Honolulu to points as far as India, western Australia, London or even Moscow.

US ramps Bombardier duty to 300%
The US Commerce Department has ramped up the proposed trade duties on Bombardier’s single-aisled CSeries jets to nearly 300%. The decision could effectively halt sales to US airlines by quadrupling their cost. The Commerce Department proposes a 79.82% anti-dumping duty on top of a 219.63% duty. This follows a preliminary finding that Bombardier sold 75 CSeries jets below cost to Delta Air Lines in 2016. The total was well above the 80% Boeing sought in its complaint. The proposed duties won’t take effect unless affirmed by the US International Trade Commission early next year. Meanwhile, UK Business Secretary Greg Clark says he hopes US authorities won’t be politically influenced when new evidence is considered. His government is fighting the complaint as it could cost jobs at Bombardier’s plant in Northern Ireland.

Latest Global 7000 put on display
Bombardier Business Aircraft unveiled The Architect, its fourth Global 7000 flight test vehicle, at the National Business Aviation Association Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas. The Global 7000, pictured, is the world’s largest purpose-built business jet and has a long-range capability of 7400 nautical miles (13,705 km). It can fly eight passengers non-stop from London to Singapore or Dubai to New York City. The cabin of the display plane has newly designed seats, entertainment options and amenities grouped into four living spaces, with a full-sized crew rest area and gourmet galley.

Boeing backed Monarch before collapse
Boeing had pumped in more than £100 million ($186 million) into the UK’s Monarch Airlines, which collapsed last week. The capital injection, through Monarch’s offshore holding company Petrol Jersey, was carried out in several tranches between October 2016 and March this year. Greybull Capital, which owns Monarch, says: “As a regulated body, all financing arrangements provided to Monarch were reviewed and approved by relevant authorities.”

Aircalin firms up Airbus orders
Noumea-based Aircalin has firmed up its order for two A320neos single-aisle and two A330-900 wide-body aircraft. The A320neo, powered by Pratt & Whitney engines and equipped with 168 seats, will be deployed on regional routes to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The A330neo, powered by the latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, will feature 26 seats in business, 21 in premium and 244 in economy class. Aircalin plans to deploy this aircraft on commercial services to Japan for onward connections.

Air New Zealand tests inflight wi-fi
Air New Zealand is testing its new inflight wi-fi service on one of its long-haul Boeing 777-300 aircraft. It is using Inmarsat’s global GX satellite constellation and has partnered with Panasonic Avionics as the in-cabin technology supplier. Air New Zealand chief digital officer Avi Golan says the trial will gather customer feedback before installation in the B777-300 fleet, which is expected to be completed by June 2018. The B777-200 will follow from April next year. “Customers will be able to choose to sign up for different timeframes and have the ability to pay in a variety of ways, including with Airpoints Dollars,” Mr Golan says.

Dreamliner gets more business seating
Meanwhile, the first of Air New Zealand’s new-look Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners is scheduled to make its first commercial flight to Sydney on Sunday, October 15. It will then be deployed on to the Auckland-Houston route in December. Air New Zealand operates five services week to Houston year-round but from 25 March to October 27, 2018, will increase this to a mix of daily services and six times a week, a capacity increase of 16,000. The new-look Dreamliner boosts the number of business premier seats from 18 to 27 and premium economy seats from 21 to 33.

Qatar adds St Petersburg
Qatar Airways will launch flights to St Petersburg (above) later this year, doubling the airline’s Russian routes. Qatar Airways started flying there in 2004, and offers three daily flights between Doha and Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport. The new daily service, which starts on December 19, will operate between Doha and St Petersburg with an Airbus A320, offering 12 flatbed seats in business and 120 seats in economy. St Petersburg, the former Russian capital, is noted for the Hermitage Museum, internationally-recognised historic buildings, elegant canals and rich Imperial history.

AirAsiaX may swap Airbus order
AirAsia X is looking at swapping an order for 66 Airbus A330neo wide-body jets to larger A350s. Chief executive Tony Fernandes says Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner will also be considered. AirAsia X has 10 A350-900s on order alongside the larger A330neo commitment, while its existing fleet is comprised of 30 current-generation A330s.

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