Fans of Southwest Airlines have been waiting a long time for their promised launch of flights to Hawaii from the mainland. They had said they would launch this year and, it turned out, it was earlier than many of us had thought! But, that shutdown crushed that hope.
Southwest Had a Goal of February 1 for Hawaii Flights
In this USA Today story, Southwest CEO acknowledged that they had the date of February 1 as the goal start date for flights to Hawaii. That would have been great news indeed! But, the federal government shutdown happened and that has pushed back the startup date for their flights to Hawaii.
The reason is the certification needed for their aircraft that they plan on using for the flights across the Pacific Ocean. Instead, Southwest says they will be able to start flying 4-6 weeks after the FAA approval process continues.
So, When Will Southwest Hawaii Flights Launch?
At the time of this article (last week), Gary Kelly (Southwest CEO) said that if the shutdown ended within a week of that time, they could launch their flights in mid-March! That would be good news, indeed!
The only question that remains is if this 3 week extension for the government to be open will be enough for Southwest to keep that launch timeframe intact. If this brief budget extension does not give enough time, then the launch of Southwest Hawaii flights will not be until April – June.
Whenever it does happen, it should prove to be immensely popular very quickly. I know there are thousands of passengers waiting for the free bags, free changes, cancellations, and the free companion (with the Southwest Companion Pass) that Southwest offers.
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