Southwest Can Officially Fly to Hawaii; Tickets Will Be Announced in 'Coming Days'
Southwest Airlines received official certification from the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday to operate its much-anticipated flights to Hawaii.
The budget carrier has been working with the FAA for the last few months to receive its Extended Range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) verification, which all airlines flying twin-engine planes -- like Southwest's Boeing 737s -- over oceans need. The certification process included test flights and other exercises with aviation officials to prove the airline could meet the standards to operate flights on such a long stretch, from the West Coast to Hawaii, without airports to divert to.
"Today, the FAA officially granted ETOPS authorization to Southwest Airlines," the airline said in a statement to TPG. "Now that we have the authorization, Southwest Teams will finalize our plans for offering service to Hawaii, and we’ll publicly announce our timing for selling tickets and inaugurating flights to the Hawaiian Islands in the coming days."
Now that Southwest officially has its ETOPS credentials, the airline could be announcing ticket prices and schedules and begin selling fares to the Aloha State any day now. Southwest says flyers interested in the its "service intentions" for Hawaii can go to Southwest.com/Hawaii.
Southwest has said it will launch flights from Oakland (OAK), San Diego (SAN), San Jose (SJC), and Sacramento (SMF) to Honolulu (Oahu), Kahului (Maui), Kona (Island of Hawaii), and Lihue (Kauai). The carrier says it will also offer inter-island service.