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CNBC Transcript: Peter Ingram, President & CEO Hawaiian Airlines


Following is the transcript of CNBC's exclusive interview with Peter Ingram, President and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines. The interview was broadcast on Squawk Box on 16 March 2018.

All references must be sourced to a "CNBC Interview'.

Interviewed by CNBC's Bernie Lo, Akiko Fujita and Oriel Morrison.

Bernie Lo (BL): Joining us on the program today from Honolulu is Peter Ingram, president and CEO. Peter, thank you very much for joining the gang here on Squawk Box. Just wondering, the folks at Boeing have been really worried that President Trump is going to initiate some sort of a trade war and that they could be hurt really really badly if that happened. Were you able to get a real choice price from Boeing? Is that the reason that you're willing to go to the expense of getting cockpit crews rerated for the 787?

Peter Ingram: Well, a lot of the recent developments in the trade space have occurred since we finalized our campaign. We, for our part, we ran a competition as we always do when we're looking to acquire aircraft and we had two really good choices. The campaign really came down to the 787-9 and the Airbus A330-900 and they're both terrific airplanes and we had great, you know, great competition between both manufacturers so it was a good position for us to be in as a purchaser of aircraft.

Akiko Fujita (AF): You know Peter, the recent announcement has a lot of people looking at this saying, well this opens things up for longer haul flights here. You've hinted at potential expansion and flights from London as well as some other cities. You know, are you looking at an expansion here in terms of direct flights? Because we have seen you move aggressively, not just into Asia, but into other parts.

Peter Ingram: Well, you've seen us grow over the last seven or eight years since 2010 when we began renewing our fleet with the A330-200. We've added service throughout the Asia-Pacific region, expanding our presence in Australia, growing to where we're now the second largest operator between the massive Japan to Hawaii market. We have service to Korea, service to China, and, you know, we see the potential for continued growth in aviation between Asia and Hawaii. And we're really looking forward to the opportunity to expand that as we bring the 787 on at the beginning of the next decade.

Oriel Morrison (OM): A lot of speculation here Peter, and it's great to have you with us on Squawk Box again this morning. You're going to be looking at nonstop flights to Europe. Is this in fact the case? Can you confirm this?

Peter Ingram: Well, it's still three years off before we get the aircraft so you know, it's way too early to be talking about specific markets that this is going to open up but the 787-9 is an aircraft that has that sort of range. So those opportunities are going to be available to us in the future and we'll have to see how market conditions are when we get to the time of actually picking the routes we're going to fly.

OM: Oh, okay. Peter, a fairly big question for you here but, you know we've been talking a lot about what the airline industry is actually going to look like in the past, in the next five to 10 years and I'm sure this is something that you are very focused on. What is your big picture here? I mean what do you see the industry looking at right now? You're focused on when you're getting these new planes, these new routes that you're going to be flying, the longer haul routes. What I'm talking about is the new technology that's coming into place within the industry as a whole, within the airline industry and how rapidly and significantly it's likely to change in the next five to 10 years.

Peter Ingram: You know the one thing that is constant in our industry is change and we see it in the technology of the aircraft that continues to evolve in. The 787 is a great example of that. The technology around distribution and the evolution of distribution. As you know, we have moved from being primarily an industry that conducts business through travel agents and traditional green screen GDS into a more web-based environment and a much more specialized selling environment. And I think one of the features of the last few years that I expect to continue to evolve is the fact that carriers like us are going to be developing different products on the airplane so that we can offer the greatest amount of value to a wide range of customers who may have different needs.

BL: Peter, you're increasingly, you know, with all the routes you've added over the years in your footprint now, you're really becoming a transpacific transporter of people via your main hub there in HNL. Just out of curiosity, you know when, you know, back to the issue of, you know, any potential trade tiffs on an international basis, when it comes to airlines I suppose the first, the first companies most people would intuitively think of would be like Delta, American and United. But because of your footprint, do you worry? You know, about what's going on about the rhetoric that's going on around the world right now and how it might affect a carrier like Hawaiian Airline?

Peter Ingram: Well, we worry from the standpoint that, you know, anything that's bad for the global economy is bad for the airline industry. I would say from our standpoint it's a little bit more muted because we are being based in Honolulu, we are a leisure focused airline and leisure travel has been continuing to grow and I think has proven through economic downturns, in fact, to be more resilient than business travel where corporations are able and in times of need to really cut things down. I think a lot of people still look, as they're, at their family vacation as a basic right in the world we are today. And we think that's terrific being an airline that its route is in leisure travel and the family vacation.

AF: And speaking of leisure travel, Peter, I think you've got Bernie and I thinking about our next vacation to Hawaii now. Right? All right, we'll leave it on that note. Peter, it's great to have you on today. Peter Ingram, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines.