Hawaiian Airlines announces 'green' partnership with Rolls-Royce

Christopher Cyr
Christopher Cyr
Mark Dunkerley
Mark Dunkerley

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A new partnership with two respected brands announced Friday afternoon means a huge win for the environment and air travelers. Hawaiian Airlines will roll out a new fleet of fuel-efficient planes, slated to debut next year.

They're joining forces with Rolls-Royce to build some of the most fuel-efficient commercial planes out there. The goal is to cut fuel consumption, and pass that savings onto you, the consumer.

When you think of Rolls-Royce, high-end luxury vehicles come to mind. They set the platinum standard in fine automobile craftsmanship. But the company also makes airplane engines, and they've been doing it for more than a century.

"Rolls no longer makes cars. We sold that business off a year ago to focus on our core technology which is gas turbines," said Christopher Cyr, Executive Vice President of Americas Customer Business at Rolls-Royce. "We make gas turbines for civil aircraft engines, defense, naval, marine, energy, and a whole variety of products."

Including the Trent 700 engine, which is going to power Hawaiian Airlines' new fleet of Airbus A-330's.

"767 is a great aircraft," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines' President and CEO. "The A-330 is a step ahead of that."

The new airbus will be about three to four percent more fuel efficient than Boeing 767s. That translates to about 700 fewer tons of carbon emissions per aircraft per year."

This "green" initiative is a $460 million investment by Hawaiian Airlines.

"The fact that we have a more efficient engine that is better for the environment, that is more reliable will mean that we will be able to grow and provide more air transportation," said Dunkerley.

"The big pressure is on us and the airlines," said Cyr. "What can you do to be friendly to the environment, and the big thing you can do is produce fuel-efficient, clean engines."

And this new partnership also makes business sense for Hawaiian.

"So this isn't just an academic issue, this is an issue that will probably be translated into lower air fares and the ability of more people to travel to more places," said Dunkerley.

News that could help the airline industry rebound and chart an upward trajectory.

Just to give you an idea, a flight from here to Sydney on the new Airbus will save 700 gallons of fuel one way. Hawaiian will debut two Airbuses next April.