Airliner to offer flights to Hawaii in 2018

Airliner to offer flights to Hawaii in 2018

Southwest Airlines, the US carrier known for its lack of seating assignments, short routes and no-frills service late Wednesday announced it plans to start selling tickets for service to Hawaii next year, answering a question that investors and its loyal customers have asked the carrier.

Southwest is adding Hawaii to its network-after years of requests from travelers and employees-with help from Boeing Co.'s upgraded 737.

"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", Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said in an announcement to employees in southern 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 Mike Van de Ven, Chief Operating Officer. Add Southwest to your list of potential airliners as they'll begin selling tickets in 2018.

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".

Southwest will become the sixth United States airline serving Hawaii from the contiguous USA, FlightGlobal schedules data show.

The airline does not specify routes, but Kelly says nonstop Hawaii service will begin from California.

The new service will test whether Southwest, long known for short routes, can compete against larger carriers on flights that take more than five hours from the U.S.'s West Coast. Another big key in the Hawaii announcement is the launch of Southwest's Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which offer expanded range compared to other models. Southwest is now operating nine MAX 8s and expects to have 14 in service by the end of the year.

"We anticipate fares will drop", he said.

"Our seat-mile costs are below (other airlines serving Hawaii) and we will offer lower fares than now are in the marketplace".