Southwest Announces Which Airports Will Get New Service to Hawaii
The airline announced on Thursday plans to offer service from four California airports — Oakland (OAK), San Diego (SAN), San Jose (SJC), and Sacramento (SMF) — to four airports in Hawaii — Honolulu (HNL), Kahului (OGG), Kauai (LIH), and Kona (KOA). Currently, Southwest is seeking authorization from the FAA for Hawaii service. When that happens, those airports will have flights added to the schedule, according to the airline. Which airport connections will be on the schedule remains to be seen.
Airfare to Hawaii has been getting cheaper in recent months, and Southwest's entrance into the market could cause prices to drop further. A study on the “Southwest effect” found that other airlines cut prices by 10 to 15 percent when Southwest starts service on routes. Since the most recent airline to add service to Hawaii was Virgin America, and that beloved airline has now been absorbed by Alaska, the increased competition will be good news for travelers — even though the other airlines might not like it.
In addition to offering flights from the mainland to Hawaii, Southwest also plans to eventually offer flights between the islands.
“The way we plan to serve Hawaii requires us to share these initial details now so that our facilities in the airports will be ready for all that we intend to offer,” Southwest President Tom Nealon said Thursday. “We’re on-track with our plans to sell tickets this year and are respectfully engaged in the process to receive FAA authorization to operate between the mainland and the islands.”