Hawaiian Airlines A330. Courtesy, Airbus

Hawaiian Airlines’ (HA) first-quarter consolidated net income leapt to $7.26 million, up $6.4 million from $855,000 from the year-ago quarter (ATW Daily News, April 28, 2011). Despite high fuel costs, HA said long-haul demand has remained strong and results were “better than … expected at the beginning of the year,” HA president and CEO Mark Dunkerley said.

“Adding a sixth A330 and inaugurating our Fukuoka-Honolulu service were the operational highlights of the quarter,” Dunkerley said. “Continuing the eventful period we are in, we have three more A330s arriving in the second quarter, allowing us to start service to New York and boost capacity on a number of other routes.”

First-quarter revenue rose 19.1% to $435.5 million while expenses increased 14% to $422.6 million, on a 28.3% increase in fuel to $140.3 million—half of which was driven by growth, CFO Scott Topping said, and half driven by higher prices.

“2011 was an unusually difficult year,” Topping said. “We experienced a heavy concentration of heavy maintenance checks on the 717 fleet, significant engine overhaul costs, and the last round of material rate increases in certain power by the hour agreements. In contrast, 2012 maintenance expense generally reflects volume-related increases associated with our growth.”

Operating income for the quarter was $12.9 million, reversed from a first-quarter 2011 operating loss of $4.95 million. Unit costs were lower than expected, “mostly” due to the early Airbus A330 delivery in March, Dunkerley noted, which increased capacity. Aircraft rent expenses fell 31.9% versus the year-ago period.

During the quarter, the carrier’s cargo revenues “continued to gain strength,” Topping said, “reflecting superior cargo capabilities of the A330.”

Consolidated traffic jumped 12.4% to 2.63 billion RPMs on a 12.8% rise in capacity to 3.14 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 83.8%, down 0.4 points. Yield improved 7% while CASM heightened 1.1% to 13.45 cents. CASM ex-fuel fell 4.2% to 8.99 cents.