FAA Approve Southwest Hawaii Boeing 737 Test Flights

Southwest Airlines has received the “thumbs up” from the FAA to launch Hawaii flights according to The Points Guy. The news comes after Southwest completed their validation flights last Tuesday. It seems as though the airline will now receive the final certification any day now.

Southwest Airlines has been planning on flying to Hawaii for quite some time now. While we know that Southwest is ready to launch the services, we’ve had to guess how long it will take. Now, however, it seems as though the date that services go on sale could be within the next few days.

Southwest Hawaii
Southwest completed their first validation flight on the 4th of February. Image: Southwest

The Aloha State

Hawaii has been in Southwest’s crosshairs for quite some time now. One of the biggest announcements came in May of 2018 when the carrier confirmed which airports Honolulu flights would operate from. Southwest has yet to confirm exact routes, however, we know which airports Southwest will serve.

Flights originating in the contiguous United States will commence from one of four airports. These are Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Jose. As far as Hawaiian destinations are concerned, Southwest will serve 4. These are “Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu(HNL), Kahului Airport on Maui (OGG), Lihue Airport on Kauai (LIH), and Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA)”

Southwest Hawaii
Southwest will operate to four airports in Hawaii. Source: GCMaps

Honolulu Hub

While Southwest is waiting for its ETOPS confirmation from the FAA, long distance water flights won’t be Southwest’s only Hawaiian aspirations. The airline is set to open up a hub in Honolulu. The area formerly inhabited by now-defunct Island Air will become Southwest’s main area. Southwest intends to fly the majority of passengers into Honolulu.

Once in Honolulu, Southwest will operate shorter flights out to the other Hawaiian destinations. Of course, while the majority of flights will go to Honolulu, there’s nothing stopping Southwest from operating a few transpacific to the smaller Hawaiian destinations.

Southwest Hawaii
The airline’s Hawaii flights are set to be well received. Photo: Southwest

Market Disruption?

By launching flights to Hawaii, Southwest has the opportunity to disrupt the current market. Currently, the market is dominated by full-service operators such as Hawaiian and United. Southwest has a unique opportunity by launching flights to Hawaii. The airline has a well-established brand in the US. In fact, the airline is currently ranked number 11 on Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list.

Additionally, the airline has a well-established network spanning the contiguous US. In fact, Southwest has a huge number of flights from across the US operating from the four key Hawaiian airports:

  • Oakland: 35 routes;
  • Sacramento: 23 routes;
  • San Diego: 36 routes;
  • San Jose: 28 routes.

Hawaii is a popular destination, with proven market demand. When you tie in the existing demand with Southwest’s expansive network and cheap fares, you have a recipe for success.

Southwest is expected to receive its final ETOPS certification within the next few days. Following this, the airline is expected to begin selling tickets for Hawaii flight shortly after.