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Is Southwest Coming to Hawaii? – November 2015 Update

Is Southwest coming to Hawaii?

Southwest Airlines jet taking off at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.

The Longstanding Question: Is Southwest Coming to Hawaii?

Potential travelers to the Aloha State want to know is Southwest coming to Hawaii? And if so, when? From what we can see at this point, the short answers to these questions are, probably yes and we don’t really know.

Most feel that Southwest’s entry into the Hawaii market would add a new dimension to the competitive environment. Southwest does not charge for 2 checked bags. They also don’t charge penalties for flight changes. And there are no frequent flyer blackout dates. These could be compelling differentiation against its competitors should it ever decide to service the Hawaiian Islands. Such advantages would be particularly important because the  leisure market comprises the largest segment of Hawaii route.

Speculation from the Internet

The latest buzz from the Internet does not make it clear when Southwest plans to enter the market. One blog site, Beat of Hawaii, is still saying it looks like everything is all set to go. It expects the carrier to make an announcement soon. It felt that could happen possibly before the end of the year, with service to begin in 2016. On the other hand, The Arizona Republic newspaper is saying that Southwest has still not made an over water regulatory filing to allow carrier to fly Hawaii. Furthermore, the newspaper has quoted a senior executive of Southwest on this subject. In it, he says that there are other more pressing priorities for the airline to focus on right now.

Like the Beat of Hawaii, we thought that from a regulatory perspective, everything was good to go. And all that Southwest had to do was make an announcement. But according to The Arizona Republic, that isn’t the case. When Southwest’s CEO, Gary Kelly, was last interviewed on this subject he said it “wouldn’t take years to start flights to the islands.” But to the people who are eagerly waiting to fly Southwest to as well as from Hawaii, it certainly is beginning to feel that way.

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