Hawaiian’s Cargo LegacyAdrian Schofield
Hawaiian Airlines plans to launch inter-island freighter service next year, using three ATR 72 cargo aircraft. This is far from the airline’s first foray into air cargo service, however. Hawaiian has a strong tradition of air freight, both in the islands and on the U.S. mainland.
On March 20, 1942, Hawaiian became the first airline to be granted an air cargo certificate by what was then the federal Civil Aeronautics Board. It converted two of its Sikorsky S-43 amphibious aircraft into all-cargo carriers, shipping all manner of freight between the islands during World War II.
Later, Hawaiian used other types of freight or combi aircraft, including Douglas DC-3s, DC-6s, DC-9s, Convair 660s and DC-8s. The airline even ran a mainland-based freight subsidiary using Lockheed Electras in the 1970s. But it essentially ended its inter-island palletized freight operations when it sold its last convertible DC-9 in 1978. The ATRs will mark a return to this business 38 years later.
Here is a look at some of the iconic aircraft Hawaiian has used to carry freight over the years.