On January 5, 2015, Hawaiian refiled its previously rejected application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for the Kona-Haneda route with service, if approved, to begin in June. The request was prompted by a DOT decision in December 2014 to review the public interest in Delta Air Lines' Seattle-Tokyo route after Delta reduced the frequency of those flights from daily to seasonal. On March 31, DOT again denied the request, opting instead to allow Delta to continue operating the route, with American Airlines taking over if Delta's planned service continued to fail.
To replace its retired DC-8s and L-1011s, Hawaiian Airlines leased six DC-10s from American Airlines, who continued to provide maintenance on the aircraft. An agreement with American also included participation in American's SABRE reservation system and participation in American Airlines' AAdvantage frequent flyer program. The DC-10s were subsequently retired between 2002 and 2003. The company replaced these leased DC-10s with 14 leased Boeing 767 aircraft during a fleet modernization program that also replaced its DC-9s with new Boeing 717 aircraft. The Boeing aircraft featured an updated rendition of the company's "Pualani" tail art, which had appeared on its Douglas aircraft since the 1970s.
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