The DC-9s replaced the DC-3s and DC-6s and gradually supplanted the new NAMC YS-11s too. Passenger traffic to Hawaii was booming as the CAB had opened up mainland-Hawaii operations to many of the major US trunk airlines. On November 1, 1967 the airline's first DC-9-31, N903H, was delivered. The series 31 fleet grew steadily with the addition of N905H (April 1968), N906H (March 1969), N907H (May 1969), N1798U (October 1969), N908H (April 1970), N1799U (September 1971) and N1332U (November 1971). The last two allowed the retirement of the short DC-9-15s.
Expansion continued for Hawaiian when in September 1975 it became the US launch customer for the stretched DC-9-51 which seated 139 passengers. Eight aircraft, registered N609HA-N679HA in increments of ten, were delivered up to June 1976 and allowed the complete replacement of the DC-9-31 fleet (the two DC-9-32CFs stayed in service). N903H was sold to Hughes Airwest as N911RW. She joined the new Republic in 1980 when Hughes Airwest was taken over and switched to Northwest when Republic was swallowed. Finally her career ended in 1999 when she was retired in September of that year.
The series 51 fleet was added to as the 1970s continued with a further pair (N699HA and N709HA) arriving in July 1978 and June 1979 respectively. Each of the DC-9-51s was named after an island flower with N709HA becoming 'Awapuhi'.
The DC-9s had been the backbone of Hawiian's success during the 1970s and the airline's faith in McDonnell Douglas products would continue into the 1980s. In part 2 we'll look at the further development of the inter-island fleet.
Cohen, Stan. 1986. Hawaiian Airlines - A Pictorial History of the Pioneer Carrier in the Pacific
Airline Timetable images - Hawaiian Airlines
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: