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. By offering lower fares itself, Southwest Airlines has forced its competitors to lower theirs, according to a 2017 study, which confirmed the continuation of a trend marked by a federal study from the 1990s.
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.
The company will begin selling tickets to Hawaii in 2018, but further specifics on the flights were not immediately disclosed.
"We anticipate fares will drop", said Andrew Watterson, executive vice president and chief revenue officer for the airline.
Southwest President Tom Nealon and Gov. David Ige joined the announcement via satellite from Waikiki.
"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.
Southwest plans to use its new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, which it added earlier this month, to fly between the mainland and Hawaii. Southwest received nine MAX 8s on October 1 and will have 14 by the end of this year. The airline plans to have over ten MAX aircrafts in service by the end of this year. "You can count on that", he said. "Low costs come from very efficient operations".
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