Is­land Air get­ting big­ger, faster plane

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - PAGE TWO -

HONOLULU (AP) — Is­land Air plans to start fly­ing a faster, larger plane within Hawaii, put­ting it in a po­si­tion to grab a big­ger piece of the in­ter­is­land mar­ket.

The Honolulu-based com­pany’s first Q400, a tur­bo­prop plane made by the Cana­dian man­u­fac­turer Bom­bardier, seats more peo­ple — 78 — and is faster than Is­land Air’s ex­ist­ing air­craft, the 64-pas­sen­ger ATR 72. The air­craft Is­land Air is leas­ing is new, which should pose fewer main­te­nance prob­lems than the air­line’s ex­ist­ing 24-year-old planes.

The com­pany aims to swap out its en­tire five-plane fleet by the sum­mer.

Is­land Air is Hawaii’s sec­ond largest car­rier. But it’s much smaller than Hawai­ian Air­lines, which car­ries 84 per­cent of pas­sen­gers fly­ing be­tween the is­lands. CEO David Uchiyama says Is­land Air had just 6 per­cent of the in­ter­is­land mar­ket in the third quar­ter.

The com­pany cur­rently flies from Honolulu to Lihue, Kahu­lui and Kona. Uchiyama said it aims to be­gin flights to Hilo this year.

The Q400 is 30 per­cent faster than con­ven­tional tur­bo­props.

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