Southwest Airlines say aloha to Hawaii


United States low-priced giant Southwest Airlines will begin sales for Hawaii flights in 2018, and will serve the popular leisure destination from California. Allegiant Air will exit Hawaii later this year, while Alaska Airlines will take over Virgin America's flights in April 2018.

Boeing and Southwest must wait for FAA approval for long over-the-water passenger flights for the 737 Max before it can begin service.

Southwest is adding Hawaii to its network-after years of requests from travelers and employees-with help from Boeing Co.'s upgraded 737.

Southwest Airlines is now the third-busiest carrier in the US, and a study by the University of Virginia this year found that Southwest still has the power to force its rivals to lower fares to stay competitive.

"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 said in a statement.

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. "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, Chief Operating Officer.

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"We anticipate fares will drop", Watterson told the Times.

The aircraft is less noisy and more fuel efficient than other models.

No specific routes have been announced, but it's a safe assumption that the airline will launch its Hawaii flights from the West Coast.

Currently, seven airlines operate in the market, but this will reduce to five before Southwest begins service.

You may have heard us purposefully changing our language ahead of tonight's announcement to say it's a matter of when, and not if we serve Hawaii.