MIAMI — Southwest Airlines has expanded its frontiers over to Hawaii by opening new routes to, from, and within the islands.
The carrier has announced an all-new service from Sacramento (SMF) to Honolulu (HNL); from Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC) to both Lihue (LIH) and Kona (KOA); and Southwest’s first-ever intra-island service between Kona and Kahului (OGG).
The new daily route between California and Hawaii, as well as the intra-island services, are all expected to launch in January 2020.
Moreover, Southwest is also launching flights between HNL and Hilo (ITO), expected to launch on January 19, 2020, adding to the 34 inter-island routes that the airline has already placed on the schedule for next year.
Back in March, the airline inaugurated its first nonstop flight from mainland US to the Hawaiian islands.
The inaugural flight appropriately numbered 6808 in reference to Hawaii’s area code 808, departed Oakland International Airport (OAK) bound for Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in the island of Oahu.
Since then, the carrier has added numerous flights to Hawaii. Seven weeks after its groundbreaking service to Hawaii from OAK, the Texas airline known for its “LUV” inaugurated flights from SJC, the carrier’s second Hawaiian gateway.
Overall, Southwest is expanding its network to the Hawaiian islands with 18 flights each day.
“We’re energized by the warm aloha Southwest has enjoyed in response to our initial Hawaii offering and this second wave of service is an investment that broadens our everyday value,” said Tom Nealon, Southwest Airlines President.
“We’re focused on bringing Hawaii an authentically Southwest experience with comfort across all seating—for every Customer—along with in-cabin snack enhancements for our flights between Hawaii and the mainland,” he added.
Growth Despite 737 MAX Crisis
Even though the carrier is one of the world’s most affected by the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet, it continues to plan ahead for the steady growth that has been part of its DNA since its early days.
Today, Southwest Airlines has 34 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes parked in Victorville, California. These planes come from a large order for 280 aircraft, all of which stopped being delivered since the type was grounded in early March.
As published in a report by OAG, Southwest has dropped more than 3million seats from its schedule since the grounding, which translates into the airline losing more than 180 flights a day.
With these new Hawaiian routes now available for purchase, Southwest hopes that its estimated date for 737 MAX re-entry into service of January 3 will be met by the FAA and other worldwide regulators.