Southwest Airlines Announces Intention to Serve Hawaii Following Years of Speculation

Southwest Airlines. PC Eric Salard

"A day long-awaited by our Customers, fans, and more than 55,000 of the world's most-loved airline Employees is finally within sight-a day that will showcase your Hospitality, about as far Southwest as you can go in the U.S.", Chairman & CEO Gary Kelly told thousands of Southwest Employees at a Company gathering in Southern California.

You heard that right.

Southwest is also apparently looking at flights between the islands, not just from the mainland to Hawaii, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported.

Southwest flights to Hawaii may not launch until 2019 because the airline still has to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, outfit aircraft with additional equipment and provide special training for crews, according to the Dallas News.

"The launch of our ETOPS work begins the next chapter of Southwest Airlines".

For years now, enthusiasts, frequent fliers, and the airline industry as a whole have been speculating that Southwest Airlines would at some point commence service to Hawaii, the USA state located 2,390 miles from California. "We're thrilled to bring Hawaii next year as an option to more than 115 million Customers who already fly with us, annually", said Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven.

The low-fare airline has been unable to reach the island state until now because it was beyond the reach of the Boeing 737 jets that has made up its fleet. Travelers have wanted Southwest to offer flights to Hawaii for years, and Kelly said it's one of the top questions from employees.

We intend to begin selling tickets in 2018, and while we're not quite ready to offer our Customers specific schedule or market information, tonight's announcement is going to be big news within the industry.

"Those Southwest shockwaves of our terrific value and bar-setting Customer Service will be a game-changing addition in the USA transpacific market", the post stated.

"We wouldn't be so bold as to say we'll start flying in October or November or July of 2018 and not go through the FAA process", Watterson said. It did say it hoped to have non-stop service from California.

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