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Aloha "Kapuahi"! Hawaiian Airlines onboards first Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Hawaiian Airlines added the first Boeing 787-9 aircraft to its fleet with two more of 12 Dreamliners on order due by the end of 2024. The 300-seat plane had an official naming ceremony and blessing in Honolulu on 24 February before commencing daily direct Honolulu-San Francisco flights on 15 April.

Hawaiian Airlines added the first Boeing 787-9 aircraft to its fleet with two more of 12 Dreamliners on order due by the end of 2024. The 300-seat plane had an official naming ceremony and blessing in Honolulu on 24 February before commencing daily direct Honolulu-San Francisco flights on 15 April.

Each new Hawaiian aircraft receives a culturally significant name and Kapuahi continues the tradition of naming wide-body planes after the constellations Polynesian navigators used to guide voyages.

Kapuahi (Aldebaran in Western astronomy) is a red giant star and the brightest in the Taurus constellation, which appears in the Pacific sky alongside Makali’i, significant in Hawaiian storytelling, wayfinding and agriculture.

New premium suites

Hawaiian aloha Dreamliner
Kapuahi at sunset.

Hawaiian Airlines President & CEO Peter Ingram said the long-awaited delivery of the carrier’s first Boeing 787-9 aircraft includes its newest premium product, Leihōkū (garland of stars) Suites.

“This day has been a long time coming – in fact, today marks almost six years to the date when we first announced our investment in the 787-9 as the new flagship fleet for our company.”

The 34 Leihōkū Suites feature a starlit ceiling with lie-flat seating, an 18-inch screen, personal power outlets, wireless charging and direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Hawaiian culture on board

Hawaiian Dreamliner blessing
Kahu Laʻakea Artista performed the aircraft blessing.

Boeing Vice President of Commercial Marketing Darren Hulst said Hawaiian culture was woven into the new design: “It immediately connects passengers to the beauty of the islands.”.

The airline worked with design consultant Teague to honour traditional Hawaiian culture and voyaging in a modern aircraft.

From the interior to its naming, nearly every element of Hawaiian’s 787-9 fleet celebrates early Polynesian navigators who sailed the Pacific by observing the stars, sun, winds, waves and wildlife.

Passengers will also learn ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) to locate their seat row number and via other placards throughout the plane.

Hawaiian Dreamliner crew
Boeing Vice President of Commercial Marketing Darren Hulst (second from left) and Hawaiian Airlines President & CEO Peter Ingram with HA flight crew.

Hawaiian Airlines Director of Community & Cultural Relations Debbie Nakanelua-Richards said: “As we journey across the Pacific and take people to and from Hawaiʻi on our planes, it is in the same spirit and tradition of Hawaiian voyaging.”

“Our kinship with voyaging is rooted in our past, grounds us in our present and guides us toward our future.

“This connection is reflected in the design of our Boeing 787-9s, which further this effort to mingle with the stars and look to the constellations for direction as wayfinders often do in the canoe.”

Hawaiian is scheduled to receive another Dreamliner in March 2024, which together with Kapuahi, will operate its Honolulu-Los Angeles service, starting 15 May, and Honolulu-Phoenix flights, beginning 16 May. 

Hawaiian was also the first major carrier to offer high-speed, inflight Starlink internet access earlier this month.

For more info, head to hawaiianairlines.com.au