At long last, Southwest Airlines is flying to Hawaii


Southwest Airlines is finally on its way to Hawaii.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday approved the low-cost carrier to fly to the islands, Southwest said.

The airline, which will service Hawaii from the West Coast, will announce when it will start selling tickets to the popular vacation destination in the coming days, it said in a statement.

Southwest revealed its plan to start flying to Hawaii in October 2017, with an eye on selling tickets by 2018, but the partial government shutdown delayed those plans.

The airline needed the FAA to sign off on its plans to fly its Boeing 737 jets over water for long distances. Safety inspectors had been flying with Southwest to Honolulu from Oakland, Calif. in recent weeks and met with airline executives to review Southwest’s navigation, maintenance and other procedures.

The airline’s decision to offer service to the Aloha State could make Hawaiian vacations cheaper. In markets where the airline has nonstop service, average one-way fares are $45 lower than in cities without those routes in what’s been dubbed the “Southwest Effect,” a University of Virginia study found.

Southwest shares were little changed postmarket trading. Shares of Hawaiian Holdings, parent of competitor Hawaiian Airlines, were also flat.


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