Southwest Airlines approved by FAA for flights to Hawaii

Southwest Airlines received a green light from the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday for its long-anticipated flights to Hawaii.

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In a statement to FOX Business, a spokesperson for the low-fare airline said teams are now finalizing plans to offer service to Hawaii.

“We’ll publicly announce our timing for inaugural flights and other service when we publish our schedule in the coming days,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson previously suggested passenger flights could be available by mid-March.

Southwest, which currently services the continental U.S., in addition to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, first announced its plans to operate within Hawaii in October.

Among the carriers Southwest will be competing against are Delta, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
LUVSOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.53.48-0.38-0.71%
DALDELTA AIR LINES INC.53.83+0.46+0.86%
ALKALASKA AIR GROUP66.84-0.14-0.21%

At the beginning of February, Southwest was preparing to test its flight from Oakland, California, to Honolulu in order to secure the necessary certification (known as “extended-range twin-engine operational performance standards, or ETOPS) from the FAA.

During the company’s earnings call, executives said they expect flights to Hawaii to account for as much as half of its planned 5 percent capacity growth this year.

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“Were it not for Hawaii, we would absolutely be adding some more international routes and augmenting some of our flying,” Southwest Chief Executive Gary Kelly said. “Hawaii, I think, deserves that kind of prioritization. It’s that big of an opportunity.”