Southwest Airlines say aloha to Hawaii

Southwest Airlines said it plans to begin flights to Hawaii, with tickets on sale beginning next year.

The airline, which has made no secret of its plans to fly to the vacation hotspot, made it official with events in Honolulu and Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

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

"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. "We're ready and excited to address a request we've heard for years."

When he was in Phoenix for Southwest's annual shareholders meeting in May, Kelly said for the first time that flights to Hawaii are a priority for the airline and suggested 2018 would be the year.

At an airline investor conference in September, CFO Tammy Romo didn't spill any details but hinted something was forthcoming.

Southwest plans to use its new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, which it added earlier this month, to fly between the mainland and Hawaii. It must first receive regulatory approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for extended over-water operations, a process that will begin soon.

In a Wednesday statement about the new service Southwest said it was announcing its "intention to launch an application process for Federal Aviation Administration authorization." 

USA Today


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