LONDON – Hawaiian Holdings Inc., the parent company of Hawaiian Airlines, have announced an agreement with Amazon.com, Inc. to operate and maintain an initial fleet of 10 Airbus A330-300 freighters starting in the fall of 2023.
Hawaiian will maintain and fly Amazon’s A330s under Hawaiian’s FAA air carrier certificate to move cargo between airports near the online retailer’s operations facilities.
The initial 10 aircraft will enter into service in 2023 and 2024. The agreement also contemplates the ability to expand the fleet depending on Amazon’s future business needs.
“We are excited to help serve Amazon customers by providing additional air cargo capacity and logistics support. This recognizes our experience in providing safe and reliable operations, our incredible front-line team, and our shared focus on the customer,” said Peter Ingram, president and CEO at Hawaiian Airlines.
“This relationship provides a catalyst to grow our business and the unique opportunity to diversify our revenue sources while capitalizing on our established strengths.”
“We’re thrilled to work with Hawaiian Airlines,” said Sarah Rhoads, Vice President, Amazon Global Air. “They will maintain and operate the next generation of aircraft in our fleet, which is a reflection of the excellence they deliver as a renowned airline with their own A330 aircraft.”
Hawaiian Airlines to base in the continental US
In preparation for service for Amazon, Hawaiian intends to establish a pilot base on the continental U.S., grow existing maintenance bases, and expand the hiring of pilots, mechanics, dispatchers, supply chain employees and others who will help support this new cargo operation.
In connection with the commercial agreement, the Company issued Amazon warrants to acquire up to 15 percent (post-issuance) of its common shares. The warrants are exercisable over the next 9 years.
Hawaiian – which in 1942 became the first commercial airline to transport scheduled U.S. air cargo with the nation’s first cargo certificate – today carries freight on passenger aircraft across its network of flights within Hawai‘i and between the islands and North America, Asia and Oceania.
The Airbus P2F conversions
The ten airframes are being converted from passenger aircraft to freighters by Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW), the centre of excellence for Airbus Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) conversions.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Airbus to our Amazon Air fleet,” said Philippe Karam, Director, Amazon Global Air Fleet & Sourcing. “These A330-300s will not only be the first of their kind in our fleet, they’ll also be the newest, largest aircraft for Amazon Air, allowing us to deliver more customer packages with each flight.”
Amazon Air transports customer packages over longer distances in shorter timeframes to deliver on its customer promise of fast, free delivery. The first of their A330-300P2F aircraft is expected to join the Amazon Air fleet in late 2023.
“The endorsement of our freighters by Amazon speaks volumes about the market value of the A330 and the position Airbus wide-bodies are gaining in the cargo market,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International.
“Amazon has built a reputation around delivering their goods to our doorsteps with extraordinary speed and consistency, and we’re very proud that our aircraft are trusted to become a key link in that remarkable logistics chain.”
With advanced Airbus technology that includes fly-by-wire flight controls, the A330 offers an extremely capable platform for freighter conversion. Since the A330’s service entry in 1994, more than 1,700 A330s have been ordered, with more than 1,500 delivered – providing a large source of aircraft to support P2F conversions for many years.
While both A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft are eligible for conversion, the longer-fuselage A330-300P2F is particularly suited for integrators and express carriers, due to its high volumetric payload capability with lower-density cargo.
The A330P2F conversion program, launched in 2012, is a collaboration between ST Aerospace, Airbus and their joint venture EFW.