MIAMI — Mark Dunkerley, President and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, announced his retirement on March 1, 2018 after a successful tenure that began in 2005.
Dunkerley said this is a “heart-wrenching decision” for him. “Hawaiian Airlines is truly in a class of its own, distinguished by all the employees I am honored to call my colleagues. At the same time, I am excited by the new opportunities ahead of me,” he said.
The soon-to-retire CEO holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the London School of Business in 1984 and a Master’s degree in Aeronautics from the Crane Institute of Technology in 1985.
On November 11, 2017, Hawaiian Airlines celebrated its 88th anniversary. With Dunkerley at the helm, the eighth-largest commercial U.S. airline has done a remarkable job in turning itself around in the last decade.
In March 2003, after a decade of losses, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, from which it emerged two years later.
The airline has never looked back. “We have been profitable every single year since 2007,” Dunkerley, a 51-year-old Englishman, said in a July 2015 interview with Airways at HA’s headquarters near the Honolulu airport.
“Hawaiian has enjoyed a terrific decade, punctuated by some tremendous growth in the last three to four years.”
The significant amount of that growth has come from a spurt of new international routes. Dunkerley said that “In the last few years we have taken our international network from being largely non-existent to accounting for almost 32% of our revenues now,” said the CEO. “Even in 2010, it represented just 6%.”
“Dunkerley’s departure will end 15 years of leadership during which the company executed a remarkable turnaround to become one of the world’s most successful airlines,” a company news release said.
Dunkerley joined the company in December 2002; since then the number of passengers flown annually increased to 11 million and doubled staff to 6,600 employees, leading the gross revenues to $2.64 billion, 2002 quadruple.
According to the airline, Dunkerley lead Hawaiian Airlines to “successfully embark” on a bold Asia-Pacific growth strategy, adding service to Tokyo, Osaka and Sapporo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; and Beijing, China as well as new routes to Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney and Brisbane, Australia; and New York City.
Lawrence Hershfield, the carrier’s Board Chairman, said that “Mark’s abilities as an airline Chief Executive are evident in the phenomenal growth and success of Hawaiian Airlines over the course of his leadership.”
The current Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Peter Ingram, will be the one to succeed as the new CEO. Dunkerley pointed out he is “confident that Ingram and the team will lead the company to further success.”
Ingram joined Hawaiian as Chief Financial Officer in December 2005, six months after its emergence from bankruptcy.
In 2011, he became Chief Commercial Officer, overseeing marketing and sales, revenue management and network planning, loyalty programs, and cargo.
Hershfield added, “Peter Ingram has been an important part of Hawaiian Airlines’ growth and success for the past 12 years, and we are confident in his deep knowledge of the airline, the industry, and the community.”
“I am humbled by the board’s confidence in me and excited by the opportunity to lead an incredible team as Hawaiian’s CEO,” Ingram said.
“Mark has been an inspirational leader for our company and mentor to me and many others, and I will be proud to continue pursuing the strategy for growth and success that we have been following for the last several years.”
Likewise, Hawaiian Airlines is celebrating the arrival of its first Airbus A321neo in Honolulu. The aircraft should enter service in January on routes between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.
Today we held a blessing ceremony and employee tours to welcome our first @Airbus #A321neo aircraft, "Maile," named after a vine native to Hawai‘i & traditionally used for lei making and celebrations. Read more: https://t.co/uq69h0VVny & view more photos: https://t.co/asbYNYMn62. pic.twitter.com/L6CYi2xloX
— Hawaiian Airlines (@HawaiianAir) November 16, 2017
The airline also says they are looking to launch international routes with the aircraft. Hawaiian has 17 further orders of the type that are scheduled to be delivered until mid-2020.
Hawaiian also has orders for six A330-800neos, with deliveries scheduled for between August 2019 and November 2021.