As United Airlines seeks to balance its operational needs with a desire to continue its Polaris retrofit program, a Boeing 767-400 bottleneck has led to problems for United’s nonstop service between Newark and Honolulu.
767-400 Shortage Impacts Newark – Honolulu Route On United Airlines
First noticed by aviation-insider JonNYC, United Airlines has cancelled it nonstop flights between Newark (EWR) and Honolulu (HNL) for multiple days, starting tomorrow (June 18, 2023).
UA: “So, UA sent too/so many 767-400s to asia for polaris retrofit that they’ve now ran out of 764s to use and had to end up canceling EWR-HNL from the 18th until at least the 21st so far, with a possibility of an ‘extension’”
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) June 14, 2023
The flights have not yet been cancelled after June 20, 2023…however all space has been zeroed out for the next 10 days. In essence, the flight is still on the schedule, but in anticipation that it may cancel, United if not selling any more seats on it.
We also reached out to one of our contacts at United Airlines and without elaboration, a memo was forwarded to us which explained:
There will be a small number of close-in flight cancellations implemented due to limited aircraft availability. The routes will vary, and, in most cases, there will be alternate routing options available for customers.
United is in the midst of retrofitting its 767-400 fleet. During the pandemic, the issue of whether this aircraft would even return to the active fleet was an open question, but buoyed by strong demand this aircraft is not only flying again but undergoing a Polaris retrofit as the last sub-fleet to feature United’s last-generation seats.
The retrofit is completed in Mainland China and it is not clear what led to the equipment shortage, though it would not surprise us if some of the older 767-300 jets used for European travel are encountering maintenance issues requiring aircraft swaps.
If you are traveling between Honolulu and Newark nonstop on United Airlines over the next several days, you may end up having to connect through a different city. Ostensibly due to an aircraft shortage, the popular nonstop flights between the two cities have been either cancelled or zeroed out for the next several days.
Hopefully this issue with UA362 and UA363 is not a sign of operational difficulties to come in what is shaping up to be a very busy summer of travel.