Southwest CEO: FAA Gives ‘Thumbs Up’ on Hawaii Validation Flights
Southwest Airlines has received a “thumbs up” from the Federal Aviation Administration for its validation flights to Hawaii, the airline’s CEO reportedly said at an internal meeting on Monday.
Speaking at the airline’s annual employee rally at its Dallas headquarters, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the airline has “completed [its] validation flights” to receive certification for its Hawaii flights and received a “thumbs up” from the FAA, as the carrier awaits its “report card” that will allow it to launch ticket sales and, eventually flights, to Hawaii, a Southwest spokesperson told TPG.
No information on actual flight schedules or ticket prices was mentioned.
Kelly also did not reveal when fares to the Aloha State would go on sale, but the carrier has previously said that ticket sales would begin soon after Southwest receives its formal certification from the FAA to operate its Hawaii flights. That formal certification might come any day now.
For months, Southwest has been chugging through the certification process with the FAA. An airline flying twinjets, like Southwest does, needs to go through an Extended Range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards certification process to launch flights over oceans. The certification, ETOPS for short, is essentially a multi-step process in which Southwest proves to the FAA that it can fly its twin-engine Boeing 737s over the Pacific Ocean for an extended period of time without a diversion airport available within a certain distance.
The entire ETOPS process had to be put on hold during the government shutdown in January, which delayed Southwest’s initial timeline. The airline was wrapping up certification tasks last week, with its last few test flights back and forth from the islands with FAA officials.
As TPG‘s Summer Hull reported in January, Southwest said to expect roughly a six-week to two-month window from when the FAA resumes the ETOPS process to when Hawaii operations can begin. So if that holds true, that would mean the airline’s Hawaii flights will be taking off with passengers sometime in very late March or April.
Featured photo by Marco Garcia/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees