HONOLULU, HAWAII — Hawaiian Airlines has been forced to ground five of its 18 Airbus A321neo planes due to engine supply chain problems impacting customers of Pratt & Whitney's PW1100G engines.

During Hawaiian Holdings' Q1 earnings call on April 25, CEO Peter Ingram expressed frustration over the ongoing capacity limitations for their A321neo fleet, which he attributes to their engine suppliers' inability to fulfill commitments in the face of an overwhelmed engine overhaul supply chain.

Five of the airline's A321neos remain grounded, awaiting engines, as global supply-chain and labor shortages continue to hinder airlines' return to pre-pandemic operations. Ingram anticipates that one aircraft will be back in service later this week, with another following in about a week if all goes according to plan. However, these groundings have led Hawaiian to be more conservative in scheduling summer capacity than they would have preferred.

Almost 12% of the global PW1100G-powered A320neo-family fleet is currently in storage. Though not all are stored due to engine-related issues, it is worth noting that the storage rate for GTF-powered jets is three times higher than that of the competing CFM International Leap-1A fleet.

The engine-related groundings are largely attributed to prolonged maintenance turnaround times, spare engine shortages resulting from supply chain issues, and durability concerns with P&W's next-generation powerplants.

Jonathan Berger, Managing Director of Alton Aviation Consultancy, explained at the MRO Americas conference in Atlanta on April 19 that these issues are causing airlines to delay aircraft retirements, leading to fewer part-outs and longer engine turn times.

Berger referred to the situation as "root canal issues" rather than just "teething pains."

Hawaiian's A321neo groundings have forced the airline to use widebody jets for US mainland routes, as demand recovery in Japan, one of their key markets, remains sluggish. Ingram shared that Hawaiian will fly less capacity in Japan this summer than initially anticipated when planning for 2023. The airline will shift some passenger capacity to the more lucrative US mainland market during the summer travel season, but not as much as desired.

Ingram said that Hawaiian is working with Pratt & Whitney to resolve the situation, but in the meantime, some A330s that would normally serve Japan are being used to cover routes that the airline would prefer to operate with A321s.