The regional carrier of Hawaiian Airlines, Ohana, has launched scheduled inter-island cargo flights to Lihue (LIH) and Hilo (ITO) from its base at Honolulu Airport (HNL), with a pair of ATR 72-200Fs operated by Idaho-based Empire Airlines.
Although Ohana’s first ATR 72-200F arrived in Hawaii last year, the carrier has only utilized the aircraft for test flights and charters. Scheduled flights represent the next stage in the development of Hawaiian’s cargo operations. Within the next year, Hawaiian plans to add two more ATR 72-200Fs to its regional freighter fleet, the first of which (432, ex-First Air) has already been inducted for conversion to large cargo door (LCD) freighter configuration by IPR Conversions at Empire Airlines’ MRO facility in Idaho. This will be the first ATR 72-200 passenger-to-freighter conversion with an LCD handled by Empire’s MRO.
Hawaiian opted for the LCD-configured freighters in order to accommodate containerized freight, which has greater interoperability with its passenger widebody aircraft. The ATR 72-200F can accommodate up to seven LD-3 containers, which can interline with Hawaiian’s A330 passenger fleet.