Southwest Airlines Announces Intention to Serve Hawaii Following Years of Speculation


Southwest Airlines has launched its new service to Hawaii, Hawaii News Now reports. Company officials said they could not say yet when the service will begin.

"The Max will be our Hawaii aircraft but, we'll start with our ETOPS-equipped -800 fleet to accelerate our service launch date", says Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly. And with a major carrier adding flights to Hawaii in 2018, this may be a good time to start.

"Our seat-mile costs are below (other airlines serving Hawaii) and we will offer lower fares than now are in the marketplace". We pay our people well, but we work them hard and we work the airplanes hard.

Southwest Airlines Co. on October 11 shared plans to begin selling tickets in 2018 for service to Hawaii and also announced its intention to launch an application process for Federal Aviation Administration authorization for Extended Operations (ETOPS).

Though the airline has not indicated what routes it will offer to the state, airline officials say they are also evaluating the possibility of offering flights between the islands.

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Southwest President Tom Nealon and Gov. David Ige made the joint announcement via satellite from Waikiki Beach behind the Royal Hawaiian to an estimated 10,000 Southwest employees at a company party at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

"Southwest has a strong brand and a real committed customer base that they will bring to Hawaii. We're ready and excited to address a request we've heard for years".

Portland visitor Jessica Wynn says she usually flies Southwest. I just like them. "Never had any problems", she said.

Fans of Hawaii are hoping that "the Southwest Effect" happens next year when Southwest Airlines hopes to begin serving islands in the Pacific.

Airline experts said despite the increased competition between Hawaii and the mainland that fares are not expected to change much because it costs more per mile to operate Southwest's aircraft than the larger planes operated by Hawaiian Airlines and other carriers. "Hawaii is our home, and our superior product, authentic Hawaiian hospitality and leading punctuality offer travelers the best value when flying to and within our Hawaiian Islands".