Southwest Airlines Announces Intention to Serve Hawaii Following Years of Speculation

Jon Howard
October 14, 2017

After years of speculation, Southwest Airlines announced it will expand its service to Hawaii - and officials from the company say prices will be cheaper than those offered by its competitors.

Southwest did not reveal routes or the precise timing of when the new service would begin.

Southwest has long spoken of plans to begin flights to Hawaii, making it clear that it was only a matter of when, not if, they serve the destination.

Southwest plans to use its new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, which it added earlier this month, to fly between the mainland and Hawaii.

Southwest says its capacity plans for 2018 remain unchanged with the Hawaii announcement.

Southwest intends to launch the application process for Extended Operations Authorization (ETOPS) with the Federal Aviation Administration soon.

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"Hawaii is an important place for Southwest Airlines because so many people count on us to take them everywhere they want to go reliably and affordably, " Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement.

President Tom Nealon joined the announcement via satellite from Honolulu's famed Waikiki Beach and introduced the Governor of Hawaii, the Hon.

Southwest Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Watterson said the airline can't give a date for when its planes will start flying over the Pacific Ocean as it depends on when it receives the FAA certification.

"We anticipate fares will drop", he said.

Southwest will become the sixth U.S. airline serving Hawaii from the contiguous USA, FlightGlobal schedules data show.

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