[NOTE: This is a re-visit of a story from last year]
One of the best kept secrets in aviation is what Southwest Airlines Hawaii is planning. It is a certainty that SWA still intends to fly to Hawaii, and the company has reasserted that multiple times as recently as February.
Here’s a list of what we know and what is yet to be revealed.
Southwest Hawaii — What we Know
- SWA has taken delivery of a fleet of 737–800 planes ETOPS certified for over water service.
- Their flight crews received over water training needed to fly to Hawaii.
- Reduced air inventory at Hawaiian, Alaska, Allegiant and others have increased Hawaii fares. That’s a natural calling card to help get Southwest to Hawaii.
- The carrier has indicated that Hawaii is only a matter of “when,” and not “if.”
- When Southwest Airlines Hawaii service happens, it will be a game changer in the Hawaii airline market.
Southwest Hawaii — What is yet to be revealed
- What is their time frame to start flying? It could be at any point from now though 2015.
- Which routes will be offered? With the 737 planes available, in an all economy configuration, Southwest will be limited to flying to Hawaii from the west coast. Even going slightly inland isn’t feasible.
- When Southwest Hawaii starts up, we’re certain that they will use Oakland as a mainland departure city. The second most likely Hawaii gateway is Los Angeles.
- Would Southwest inter-island service be considered? While not likely, that remains a distinct possibility and something those of us in Hawaii would welcome.