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Southwest to begin flying to Hawaii
12 October 2017, 05:55 | Kelvin Horton
A new Southwest Airlines 737-8MAX
Southwest Airlines will soon have flights from the mainland to Hawaii, the company announced. "We're ready and excited to address a request we've heard for years".
Southwest Airlines, ending years of speculation, officially announced late this afternoon that it will start selling tickets to Hawaii beginning next year and offer fares that are lower than those now in the marketplace. Allegiant Air will exit Hawaii later this year, while Alaska Airlines will take over Virgin America's flights in April 2018. Why now? We need to take our Extended Operations (ETOPS) work to the next level and gain FAA certification of ETOPS-equipped aircraft in our fleet and establish required operational processes to offer our Customers nonstop service they expect from California to one of the world's top leisure destinations.
Southwest doesn't know the exact timing of the service, and it first needs to apply for Federal Aviation Administration authorization to operate the long-distance flight.
Fans of Hawaii will be hoping the carrier's entry into the new market will lower the cost of getting there as the increased competition and Southwest's low fares could force other airlines to adapt.
American, United, Delta, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines all offer service to and from Hawaii, and analysts will be watching to see if Southwest's entry has any effect on prices.
The Company's aircraft and available seat miles plans for 2018 are unchanged with today's announcement.
Hawaiian Airlines CEO told CNNMoney recently that it is looking at whether to go ahead with a new Airbus jet to start providing 13-hour direct flights to markets such as India, western Australia and even London, or whether to switch to longer range Boeing jets such as 787 Dreamliners. Southwest is now operating nine MAX 8s and expects to have 14 in service by the end of the year.
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