Today, Southwest Airlines announced that it would be upping its presence in Hawaii. The North American carrier will be connecting San Diego with two locations in Hawaii.
The San Diego connection
Gearing up for the Summer 2020 season, Southwest Airlines will now provide daily non-stop services for its passengers in San Diego. There will be two routes launching in Spring next year;
- San Diego to Kahului (Maui) once daily
- San Diego to Honolulu (Oahu) once daily.
The services will both begin in April. The Kahului route will start on 14th April 2020 and the Honolulu route will begin six days later on 20th April 2020.
The timetable for the first flights are as follows:
San Diego – Kahului route
- 14th April 2020: San Diego (SAN) departure at 08:10, arriving into Kahului (OGG) at 11:10
- 14th April 2020: Kahului (OGG) departure at 12:55, arriving into San Diego (SAN) at 21:20.
San Diego – Honolulu route
- 20th April 2020: San Diego (SAN) departure at 15:40, arriving into Honolulu (HNL) at 18:45
- 20th April 2020: Honolulu (HNL) departure at 09:35, arriving into San Diego (SAN) at 18:15.
The Executive Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer for Southwest Airlines said he was happy that the airline had started to branch out. In a statement, Andrew Watterson proudly stated:
“We’re grateful for the steadfast loyalty of our San Diego Customers and we’re adding a Southwest heading to their compass of nonstop options.”
Finding its feet after the 737 MAX grounding
The San Diego route will now join the current routes that Southwest Airlines has already been flying to since March; Oakland (OAK), San Jose in California (SJC) and Sacramento (SMF). Southwest is already offering celebratory tickets for the route launch. It’s offering specific dates for fares as low as $129 one way.
There had previously been speculation that a San Diego to Hawaii route would be opening up. San Diego is one of Southwest Airlines’ focus cities. Operating a direct flight from here to Hawaii suggests that there is a strong connection, economically-speaking, between the two regions.
But after the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, those plans were put on hold. The aircraft it had planned to use for its Hawaii routes were now out of use. Only four months ago, the airline said that flights from San Diego were postponed indefinitely. But now it’s managed to pull it out of the bag.
The flights will be operated by Southwest’s 737-800 aircraft. The airline says:
“Boeing 737-MAX8 Aircraft are currently grounded by the FAA. Until the MAX8 aircraft returns to service, Southwest plans to operate MAX8 flights with a different aircraft type.”
Feeding an appetite for interisland travel
But not only did Southwest today announce the San Diego route but also additional interisland routes. It already added more services back in August for interisland travel. At that time, it doubled the number of routes.
And now it will give its passengers even more options went traveling within Hawaii. Anticipating the Merrie Monarch Festival, Southwest will offer additional flights. It’s said the reason for this is to allow its customers to immerse themselves in the sense of community during this important cultural festival.
From 15th April to 18th April 2020, it will offer six daily flights both ways between Honolulu and Hilo. It will then offer seven flights daily each way on 19th April 2020.
We’ve seen Southwest grow its Hawaiian network dramatically over the past seven months. It began international flights between the mainland U.S. and Hawaii in March. It then increased the speed at which it was expanding in the region and then within six months began stealing from its competition.
It’s taking advantage of the holiday tourism in the area, cashing in on holiday-makers and upping its network to defend the competition. It’s already damaged profits from Hawaiian Airlines who also face competition from ANA (All Nippon Airways).
And with additional routes being added every couple of months, we don’t expect Southwest to stop just yet.
What do you think of Southwest’s new Hawaiian strategy? Let us know in the comments.