Southwest Airlines planning flights to Hawaii, company says

14 October, 2017, 00:38 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • A new Southwest Airlines 737-8MAX

Currently, seven airlines operate in the market, but this will reduce to five before Southwest begins service.

The Dallas-based airline made the announcement Wednesday in a joint address by Southwest President Tom Nealon and Hawaii Gov. David Ige to thousands of employees at a company party.

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 recently became the first airline in North America to launch scheduled service utilizing Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft throughout the company.

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Southwest Airlines is now the third-busiest carrier in the USA, and a study by the University of Virginia this year found that Southwest still has the power to force its rivals to lower fares to stay competitive.

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.

Mike Van de Ven, Southwest chief operating officer, said the new Hawaii service "begins the next chapter of Southwest Airlines". Southwest received nine MAX 8s on October 1 and will have 14 by the end of this year. Once approved, he said, Southwest will fly most of its routes from California to Kauai, Honolulu and the island of Hawaii.

"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.

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