Q3 earnings jump for Hawaiian Airlines

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"Moana" stars Dwayne Johnson and Auliʻi Cravalho pose in front Hawaiian Airlines' new livery design.
"Moana" stars Dwayne Johnson and Auliʻi Cravalho pose in front Hawaiian Airlines' new livery design.
Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

It was a good week for Hawaiian Airlines, as the company reported a substantial year-over-year increase in Q3 earnings, and the carrier introduced a new Disney partnership tied to the animated film "Moana."

On Tuesday, the airline's parent company, Hawaiian Holdings, reported $102.5 million in net income for the third quarter of this year, an increase of $32.4 million over the same three-month period in 2015.

Third-quarter passenger revenue was also up, climbing 6.2% to more than $591.4 million, according to figures released by Hawaiian on Oct. 18.

"It's been a great quarter in a good year so far," Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO, said in a statement. "Low fuel prices, strong demand in our geographies and moderate industry capacity growth combined to create a positive environment for our business."

Hawaiian paid $94.8 million in fuel costs during the third quarter, a total that was down 10% from the same three-month period in 2015. Through the first nine months of the year, the carrier's fuel costs were down 24.5%.  

Earlier in the week, meanwhile, Hawaiian also introduced one of its Airbus A330 aircraft featuring a new livery design: a large, custom decal created by Walt Disney Studios that showcases characters from the CG-animated film "Moana," set to open Nov. 23. The carrier will unveil new "Moana" livery designs on two more A330s next month.

The movie stars Dwayne Johnson as the voice of the Polynesian demigod Maui, who reluctantly teaches a teenage girl named Moana  voiced by Hawaii's own Aulii Cravalho  the ocean wayfinding traditions of her ancestors during a sea-going adventure on the Pacific.  Both Johnson and Cravalho attended Hawaiian's new livery unveil at the Honolulu Airport Oct. 15.

According to Avi Mannis, Hawaiian's senior vice president of marketing, many of the film's themes match well with the airline's brand.  

"These kind of opportunities to partner with movies come up all the time," he said. "But this one, because of the celebration of voyaging and because of its setting, felt really uniquely well suited to what we do traveling across the Pacific."

Folks looking forward to seeing "Moana" shouldn't, however, expect a film starring Hawaii.

"The movie takes place historically prior to the settlement of Hawaii and is sort of indefinite in its geography, so it's not really a Hawaii movie," Mannis told me. "What we like about it is it's really about voyaging in the Pacific, and we view what we do as a company as really following in the footsteps of the Polynesian voyagers and navigators, who first transited between the islands of Polynesia."

Overhead bins in Hawaiian's "Moana"-themed Airbus A330s will also be decorated with characters and designs from the film, and the planes will fly on both domestic and international routes. The carrier also plans a number of social media contests and sweepstakes, according to Mannis, and travelers on all of Hawaiian's flights will see an exclusive welcome video inspired by "Moana" along with other, exclusive in-flight Disney content.

Folks interested in learning more about the "Moana"-themed planes, the partnership initiatives, or even tracking the location of the aircraft should visit www.hawaiianairlines.com/moana.

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