Southwest Airlines is close to launching its Hawaii flights from the West Coast, maybe in time for the winter getaways.
“Hawaii forecasts very well for us. We have, obviously, no thought of deviating from our plan,” Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly said in an interview Thursday. The company is “very close” to gaining approval for extended flights above the Pacific from California and expects to begin service during the peak winter season, he said.
“We’re going to ramp up pretty aggressively, but with a gradual increase in flight activity,” Kelly told Bloomberg.
The Dallas-based airline announced back in 2017 that it would begin flights to Hawaii. Initial routes have already been made public. Once the Federal Aviation Administration gives the go-ahead, marketing could begin almost immediately and flights soon thereafter. The airline will also eventually launch inter-island service, but no updates on when that may begin.
Southwest expects to boost flight and seating capacity by no more than 5 percent next year, with half of that added traffic devoted to Hawaii.
Southwest flights to Hawaii are expected to bring a new level of competition and likely lower prices to the popular destination.