LIHUE — Hawaiian Airlines Chief Financial Officer Peter Ingram didn’t have much to say about Southwest Airlines stepping into Hawaii airspace during his annual talk at the Thursday Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
He only touched on the subject briefly during the 45-minute presentation, which brought the audience of 170 people up to speed on what the airline did in 2019.
And he said he’s not worried.
“Don’t want to downplay this, I have great respect for Southwest, but I’ve never thought we couldn’t compete,” Ingram said, calling Southwest Airlines the “new kid on the block”.
Southwest flew into the Hawaii market in March and has been expanding both inter-island and Honolulu to Mainland flights since.
But Thursday, Ingram didn’t focus on the competitor, he kept his talk Hawaiian Airlines-related, pointing out airport upgrades the company funded and the 17 new A321 Neo jetliners the company has secured.
“We have one more on order,” Ingram said. “These smaller planes are more efficient for some routes.”
That’ll especially help routes in which Hawaiian Airlines flights aren’t quite full, which sometimes happens on flights from Los Angeles to Hawaii. The smaller planes are also more fuel-efficient.
Alongside investing in their fleet, Hawaiian Airlines upgraded check-in kiosks at the five Hawaii airports, including Lihue, where there are 21 new kiosks that welcome customers and provide tickets.
Those new kiosks include more sensitive touch screens and more space at each station for an easier check-in experience for the nearly 12 million annual guests welcomed to the Hawaiian Airlines check -n stations.
Now that the hardware has been updated, Hawaiian Airlines is in the process of updating the software on those kiosks, to minimize the amount of customer ticketing problems.
“But, if you have a problem, you’ll get to talk with our service agents and you’ll get to meet someone truly terrific,” Ingram said.
Questions from the audience focused on destinations and the availability of wifi on flights, particularly to the mainland.
Others asked about how failing to put a cell phone in airplane mode would impact the flight.
Ingram also hinted at the addition of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner to the Hawaiian Airlines fleet, which is a mid-size, long haul jetliner.
“Not the 737,” Ingram said, citing the Boeing model that’s been grounded after several crashes and related deaths. “The 787. That’s happening next year.
Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or email@example.com.