And the airline is looking at international destinations, too.
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 passenger
Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

As Southwest solidifies its standing as one of the most-beloved airlines in the country, it is also considering expanding its reach even farther.

In a meeting with shareholders, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly announced that expanding routes to Hawaii (and perhaps some more international destinations) is becoming a priority for the airline.

“We still have a lot of work to do and we don’t have a committed work plan yet on Hawaii,” Kelly clarified to reporters, “but it’s pretty high on the priority list.”

Last week the Arizona Republic speculated that Hawaii flights could begin from the West Coast as soon as next year — although Kelly said that 2018 may be too short a time frame. The origin airports are not yet known.

If and when Southwest does expand to Hawaii, they will use the Boeing 737 Max aircraft. Southwest will take possession of its first Max plane in October with the remaining 13 of their order due to be delivered by the end of the year.

And starting later this year, Southwest will also expand its international offerings. Starting in November, the airline will offer nonstop service from Florida to San Jose, Costa Rica, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Southwest will also launch service from Nashville and St. Louis to Cancun, Mexico later that month.

While flights to Canada are on the airline’s radar, they are less of a priority than other warmer international destinations.