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Now that Southwest’s reservation system is fully switched over to Amadeus, the airline can now start planning flights and routes that it hasn’t been able to operate in the past. High on the priority list: flights to Hawaii.
Since Southwest’s old reservation program couldn’t effectively deal with date changes, the airline would’ve been very limited on flights to and from the fiftieth state. Now, unburdened by these restrictions, it looks like Hawaii is in the plans for 2018.
Yesterday, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told reporters at the airline’s annual shareholder meeting that “We’re deciding what our plans are for 2018 and Hawaii is important to us.” Pressed for details about adding flights to the schedule in 2017, Kelly clarified: “We still have a lot of work to do and we don’t have a committed work plan yet on Hawaii … but it’s pretty high on the priority list.”
However, the details of how and where are already being speculated about. The Arizona Republic reported that Southwest would use its new longer-range 737 MAX aircraft for West Coast routes to Hawaii. Although Southwest was the launch customer of the 737 MAX, Southwest won’t take delivery of its first 737 MAX aircraft until October. So, Hawaii flights would have to be scheduled after this date.
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