Aviation News

October 12, 2017

Southwest Airlines Announces Entry into the Hawaiian Market

More articles by »
Written by: Douglas Wint
Tags: , , ,

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly announced on Wednesday evening, the airline’s intention to apply for ETOPS certification of their Boeing 737-800 for service to Hawaii. Kelly said “A day long-awaited by our customers, fans, and more than 55,000 of the world’s most-loved airline employees is finally within sight—a day that will showcase your hospitality, about as far Southwest as you can go in the U.S. “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. We’re ready and excited to address a request we’ve heard for years.” Schedules and routes are yet to be released but service will begin from western hubs and focus cities to at least Honolulu and Maui. Tickets will go on sale sometime in 2018.

Many in the aviation industry have long-speculated when Southwest would serve the state of Hawaii. Speculation was amplified leading up to the introduction of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 into their fleet in October 2017. According to Boeing, the MAX 8 has a range of 4,045 miles. It also has improved fuel burn and lower operating costs over the previous 737 generation of aircraft. The MAX 8 can fly routes from Honolulu to as far as Phoenix, Denver, and into the midwest U.S. As more come online, they will be added on flights to Hawaii.

The Hawaii market has grown increasingly competitive in the last five years, especially from the western United States. United recently announced a significant increase in its service to destinations in Hawaii (Kona, Lihue, and Maui). Delta will soon begin flights to Lihue from Seattle-Tacoma, adding to its existing domestic and international network from Hawaii. Alaska/Virgin America, Hawaiian Airlines, and American Airlines all have an expansive Hawaiian presence. Southwest Airlines is entering a very saturated and competitive field.

That said, Southwest is the largest domestic carrier and has a very loyal customer base, especially in California and other parts of the inter-mountain west. Many travelers admire the airline for their competitive fares, customer service, and no-baggage fee policy. The airline now sees Hawaii as a viable market with the entry of the 737 MAX 8 into its fleet. Expectations will be high following government approval and the formal announcement of entry dates and service routes.

(Image above, from left to right: COO Mike Van de Ven, Managing Director of Culture Cheryl Hughey, Chairman & CEO Gary C. Kelly, Governor of Hawaii Hon. David Ige, and President Tom Nealon.)

About the Author

Douglas Wint
Doug Wint is an aviation enthusiast based in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.



What’s Happening At The 2019 Paris Air Show (Updated 3X)

The 2019 edition of the Paris Air Show is happening this week. The biennial show is traditionally a place where new aircraft are launched and new orders flow in. Follow along here all this week as we recap each day’s happ...
by Ben Granucci


United Airlines Moves to its New LaGuardia Home

United's new five-gate section at LaGuardia's Central Terminal Building replacement has opened for business.
by Ben Granucci



JetBlue Unveils Bruins Themed “Bear Force One”

JetBlue's "Bear Force One," a jet featuring the Boston Bruins hockey team's black and gold logo, was unveiled to the public on May 13, 2019.
by Michael Lothrop


The Refreshed Aer Lingus Livery: Teal Is The New Green

Aer Lingus revealed a new livery last week. We take a look at the changes and share our thoughts on the new look.
by Ben Granucci


UAS in the USA: A History of Drone Regulations

The FAA has developed regulations for drone operators to operate their UAS for fun or for profit in a legal and safe environment, but the path was not always quick or straightforward.
by David J. Williams