Southwest debuts Hawaiian service
Southwest Airlines (LUV) finally began its Hawaiian operations last Sunday. The company’s first-ever flight to the vacation hot spot flew from Oakland International Airport to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu on March 17.
Southwest’s services to one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations had been delayed, as the company couldn’t get the FAA’s (Federal Aviation Administration) approval on time due to the partial government shutdown in January. The company announced in October 2017 that it would start selling tickets by the end of 2018.
However, the company received final approval in late February this year to operate its long overwater routes to Hawaii. Southwest has been granted permission to fly its jets from four Californian cities, Oakland, San Jose, San Diego, and Sacramento, to Honolulu, Kahului, and Kona.
After receiving the approval, the company didn’t take long to announce its flight schedule. Apart from the Oakland to Honolulu flight, Southwest on March 4 said that it would start services between the Oakland and Kahului airports on April 7, San Jose and Honolulu on May 5, Oakland and Kona on May 12, and San Jose and Kahului on May 26. The services from the Sacramento and San Diego airports haven’t been decided yet.
The company also revealed that its first interisland flight between Honolulu and Kahului would start on April 28, and the flight between Honolulu and Kona would start on May 12.
Huge promotional offers
To make its debut a success, Southwest announced huge promotional offers on tickets. The company gave one-way tickets for as low as $49, which is almost a quarter of prices that other airlines (IYT) like Alaska Air Group (ALK), Hawaiian Airline (HA), and Delta Air Lines (DAL) were offering. For the interisland services, the company is offering one-way tickets at $29.
Southwest is well known for its low fares. Its debut of services to Hawaii may put pricing pressure on Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Air, which have the largest number of fleets on the island.