Southwest Airlines has finally won approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to begin flying to Hawaii from California, clearing the way for the low-cost carrier to move forward with its new long awaited routes.
The airline, which will service Hawaii from several cities in California, said in a statement that it will announce when it will start selling tickets to the popular vacation destination in the coming days.
Southwest will fly its Boeing 737 fleet from Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego and San Jose, and plans to service Honolulu on Oahu, Kahului on Maui, Kona on Island of Hawaii, and Lihue on Kauai. The company also plans inter-island flights.
It will compete with American Airlines , Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines , and Hawaiian Airlines on the new routes. We have already seen some great prices in the last few days, with direct round trips selling as low as $257.
Southwest first unveiled plans for the new service in 2017. The launch date has been pushed back several times and it recently had hoped to begin selling tickets in January. But those plans were delayed due to a 35-day partial U.S. government shutdown, which halted a lengthy federal certification process. Southwest plans to grow its flying 5 percent this year, and half of that will come from Hawaii, the airline said last month.
The approval comes as Southwest has had some bad press and is locked in a bitter dispute with its mechanics’ union after a surge in out-of-service planes due to mechanical issues. It was recently revealed that there’s an FAA investigation that’s been going on for over a year and just a few days ago all their flights were grounded due to a computer glitch.