Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Southwest Airlines announces plans for Hawaii flights

Southwest Airlines announces plans for Hawaii flights

Southwest doesn't know the exact timing of the service, and it first needs to apply for Federal Aviation Administration authorization to operate the long-distance flight.

Southwest Airlines has confirmed that it plans to fly to Hawaii, probably beginning next year - a decision that could bring sharply lower fares for all travel to the islands.

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Southwest said it will seek FAA approval to gain ETOPS certification for its new 737s - a regulatory requirement for flying them to Hawaii.

Historically risk-averse Southwest had long considered Hawaii too logistically challenging for new flights.

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Why? Because it's not cheap to fly to Hawaii- it's about 2,500 miles from the United States west coast, a route that requires more fuel and more expensive planes. And it's also relatively big, with 175 seats in Southwest's configuration. And with a major carrier adding flights to Hawaii in 2018, this may be a good time to start.

In part, Southwest is more bullish on Hawaii because it is locked in a battle with Alaska Airlines over which can fly more leisure travelers in the state. However, passengers could be able to get connecting service from western Southwest hubs like Denver and Los Angeles. "You can anticipate there will be ample connectivity to our Hawaii routes based on the number of flights between Las Vegas and California". "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". The airline made the announcement during a company gathering in Southern California. If it gets that approval, Southwest expects to start selling tickets next year.

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Kelly said he made an announcement last night at an employees-only meeting.

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