Hawaiian kicks-off new ATR-72 cargo operations with relief flights

Hawaiian Airlines has launched an all-cargo ATR-72 service between Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Līhu‘e Airport (LIH) and Hilo International Airport (ITO).

The first flights of the new freighter operations saw it transport construction and household supplies to support disaster relief projects in Hanalei on Kaua‘i and Puna on the Island of Hawaii.

Hawaiian’s new ATR-72 aircraft was loaded with 1,020 pounds of construction tools bound for Līhu‘e to be used by Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity in repairing homes for low-income residents affected by last April’s devastating storms.

A second flight to Hilo carried 1,815 pounds of furniture for 20 micro-houses built by HOPE Services Hawai‘i to shelter families affected by the ongoing Kīlauea volcano lava flow. Also aboard the flight from Honolulu to Hilo were 23 boxes of school supplies collected by Hawaiian employees and being delivered to Pāhoa Elementary.

Hawaiian Airlines president and chief executive officer, Peter Ingram said: “We are honored to utilsze our new cargo operation to help support our neighbors in need.

“We couldn’t think of a better partner in this effort than City Mill, another long-time kama’aina company.”

Hawaiian’s new cargo fleet, consisting of two ATR-72 aircraft in an all-cargo configuration, offers customers shipment of goods throughout the state with timed connections from the airline’s mainland and international networks.

The ‘Ohana by Hawaiian freighter operation will also include flights between HNL and Kahului Airport and Kona International Airport with the arrival of two more aircraft expected to be in service next year.

“The ATR-72s enable us to meet the cargo needs of our customers and businesses while streamlining and growing our shipping operations throughout Hawai‘i and beyond,” Ingram said at a news conference inside the company’s Charles I. Elliott Maintenance and Cargo Facility, the Honolulu hub of its cargo business.

Hawaiian’s ATR-72s can also accommodate up to seven LD-3 containers, the same type carried by aircraft flying Hawaiian’s transpacific routes, allowing the airline to transfer cargo more seamlessly between the islands and destinations in Asia, the South Pacific and the US mainland.

The cargo fleet is operated by Empire Airlines, which also operates ‘Ohana by Hawaiian’s four 48-passenger ATR-42 fleet serving the communities of Kapalua (Maui), Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.

“We are excited to offer our customers a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all their cargo needs,” said Hawaiian Airlines managing director of cargo services, Brad Matheny. “The ATR-72 is the perfect aircraft to get the job done and symbolizes our continued dedication to our community as Hawai‘i’s hometown carrier.”

The new ATR-72 service complements bulk freight and containerised shipping Hawaiian provides on over 70 scheduled transpacific daily belly flights with Airbus A330 and A321neo, and Boeing 767 aircraft. The airline’s Boeing 717 fleet, which flies approximately 170 daily flights between the Neighbor Islands, will continue to provide express shipments throughout the state.

Hawaiian Airlines became the first US carrier to obtain a cargo certificate on 20 March, 1942, when it converted amphibious Sikorsky S-38s into cargo aircraft to transport beef from Moloka‘i to Honolulu, while using S-43s as freighters servicing other islands.