Southwest Airlines to start flying to Hawaii

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Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said the destination is a request the company has received for years.

Southwest Airlines officials say they plan to begin offering flights to and from Hawaii and expect tickets to go on sale next year.

The carrier intends to start ticket sales next year.

You heard that right.

Watterson said the airline, which is the first operator for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, will use those 175-seat planes for Hawaii service. It must first receive regulatory approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for extended over-water operations, a process that will begin soon.

The company hasn't yet released plans for the flights or how Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport plays into them; however, a quick look at flight plans shows only one airline, Delta, offering direct non-stop flights between Atlanta and the Aloha State.

"We're thrilled to bring Hawaii next year as an option to more than 115 million customers who already fly with us annually", said Mike Van de Ven, Soutwest's chief operating officer.

Many more offer fights with one or more stops along the way, though.

For years now, enthusiasts, frequent fliers, and the airline industry as a whole have been speculating that Southwest Airlines would at some point commence service to Hawaii, the US state located 2,390 miles from California.

I just shared with our Employees at our Spirit Party at Universal Studios: we're going to Hawaii, baby!

David Ige, the governor of Hawaii, also welcomed and invited Southwest's announcement and Tom Nealon, Southwest's President, responded adding, "The unmatched combination of our People and low fares with nothing to hide will be a game-changer in the U.S.to Hawaii market".

The Company's aircraft and available seat miles plans for 2018 are unchanged with today's announcement.

The Dallas-based carrier, known for its "bags fly free" and no-fee policies, said it wasn't ready yet to identify the mainland-Hawaii routes it will fly, but said its large presence in California is an indication that some of the service will come from there.

Now we know where Southwest Airlines wants to take its brand-new Boeing planes: Hawaii.

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