Economy

Southwest Airlines to fly to Hawaii in 2018

Southwest Airlines to fly to Hawaii in 2018

After years of speculation, Southwest Airlines announced it will expand its service to Hawaii - and officials from the company say prices will be cheaper than those offered by its competitors.

The airline said more details of the new service, such as the date it would launch and the mainland cities where the flights would originate, would be released at a later date.

When he was in Phoenix for Southwest's annual shareholders meeting in May, Kelly said for the first time that flights to Hawaii are a priority for the airline and suggested 2018 would be the year.

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.

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The airline anticipates beginning flights to the Pacific islands next year.

"The Max will be our Hawaii aircraft but, we'll start with our ETOPS-equipped -800 fleet to accelerate our service launch date", says Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly. Southwest received nine MAX 8s on October 1 and will have 14 by the end of this year. "The rest of the work is lined up to bring the performance enhancements of the Max to what we intend to build into a multi-market offering among our West Coast cities and the Hawaiian Islands". The airline stated that they have been studying pricing on Hawaii routes for a while and believe they will be able to charge less than others.

"We anticipate fares will drop", he said.