By Wendy Osher
Southwest Airlines made an announcement to employees today that it has officially obtained technical certification from the FAA that will allow the airline to operate flights that serve Hawaiʻi, an airline spokesperson tells Maui Now.
Brad Hawkins, communication specialist with Southwest Airlines tells Maui Now, “The FAA officially authorized Southwest to operate ETOPS or Extended Operations flights that, among other potential routes, will technically allow us to serve Hawaiʻi, as previously announced.”
An FAA spokesperson tells Maui Now, “The FAA can confirm it has approved Southwest’s service to Hawaiʻi. As standard practice, we will increase our surveillance of its operations for six months as service begins.”
Last year, the airline announced plans to offer non-stop service to Hawaiʻi from four airports in California.
Hawkins said more on the Hawaiʻi service is yet to come. “We have Teams now finalizing our plans to offer service to Hawaiʻi, and we’ll publicly announce our timing for inaugural flights and other service when we publish our schedule in the coming days.”
While specific routes are not yet available for purchase, the airline’s website states that “initial intention” is to begin Hawaiʻi nonstop service from Oakland, San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento. The routes are subject to required government approvals. From California, the airlines intends to service Honolulu on Oʻahu, Kahului on Maui, Kona on Hawaiʻi Island and Līhue on Kauaʻi.
According to the company website, Southwest also intends to provide interisland service, so passengers can fly between the Hawaiian Islands as well.
Southwest completed its first validation flight to Hawaii earlier this month and has been conducting test flights in the islands as part of its authorization process with the FAA.
To learn more about the airlines service intentions, Customers can visit Southwest.com/Hawaii.