Southwest Airlines Gains Official Authorization for Hawai‘i Flights

February 27, 2019, 1:05 PM HST (Updated February 27, 2019, 1:09 PM)
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The Federal Aviation Administration officially authorized Southwest to conduct Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) to serve Hawai‘i, among other potential routes, a Southwest spokesman confirmed in an email at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Earlier today, the airline was awaiting its final “report card” in writing from the FAA on the entire ETOPS application so it can start selling tickets and announce a schedule of flights to Hawai‘i.

“We have teams now finalizing our plans to offer service to Hawai‘i and we’ll publicly announce our timing for inaugural flights and other service when we publish our schedule in the coming days,” SWA Spokesman Brad Hawkins said in an email to Big Island Now.

The FAA confirms it has approved Southwest’s service to Hawai‘i, according to an FAA spokesman.

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“As standard practice, we will increase our surveillance of its operations for six months as service begins,” the FAA said.

While specific routes are not yet available for purchase as of Feb. 27, 2019, Southwest Airlines now has certification to begin Hawai‘i nonstop service from Oakland (OAK), San Diego (SAN), San Jose (SJC) and Sacramento (SMF). Southwest Airlines’ Hawai‘i routes may also include the ninth island, Las Vegas, Nevada.

From these California airports, travelers will be able reach airports in Kona on Hawai‘i Island, Honolulu on O‘ahu, Kahului on Maui and Līhue on Kaua‘i. The airline also intends to provide interisland service.

To learn more about our service intentions as they are announced, customers can visit Southwest.com/Hawaii.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the airlines completed its final verification flight—part of the FAA’s ETOPS) requirements on Feb. 21 and Kelly received a verbal ETOPS authorization soon after that final verification flight was completed.

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