Hawaii, here we come.

Jess McHugh
October 12, 2017

Southwest Airlines is moving ahead with its highly anticipated plans to fly to Hawaii, with service starting from California in 2018 or 2019.

“Hawaii is an important place for Southwest Airlines because so many people count on us to take them everywhere they want to go reliably and affordably,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told employees. “We're ready and excited to address a request we've heard for years.”

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Tickets will go on sale in 2018, when the airline plans to put its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft into service.

Southwest has long offered passengers a lower-cost alternative to other domestic airlines, and their move to Hawaii could lower fares overall to the island state.

“On average, our fares will be lower than theirs or bring down the market price,” said executive vice president Andrew Watterson. “That's called the ‘Southwest Effect.’”

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The Dallas-based airline has historically succeeded on shorter routes, however, and a longer route could pose a challenge when it comes to service. With a crowded marketplace to Hawaii, Wolfe research analyst Hunter Keay said the carrier might not last on its new route, Bloomberg reported.

“We expect Southwest will bleed margins here for a couple years before scaling back or exiting outright,” he wrote in a note to clients.

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