By Wendy Osher
Southwest Airlines today announced to its employees that it had officially obtained from the FAA a technical certification allowing it to operate flights serving Hawaii, said a spokeswoman for the airline in Maui. Now.
Brad Hawkins, communications specialist at Southwest Airlines, told Maui Now: "The FAA has officially authorized Southwest to operate ETOPS or Extended Operations flights which, among other potential routes, will technically enable us to serve Hawaii, as previously announced.
An FAA spokesman told Maui Now: "The FAA can confirm that it has approved the Southwest service in Hawaii. As usual practice, we will increase our monitoring of operations for six months, at the beginning of the service. "
Last year, the airline announced its intention to offer non-stop service to Hawaii from four California airports.
Hawkins said more information on the Hawaii service is coming. "We have teams in the process of finalizing our plans to offer service in Hawaii, and we will publicly announce our schedule for inaugural flights and other services when we publish our schedule in the coming days."
Although specific routes are not yet available for purchase, the airline's website states that "the original intent" is to launch non-stop service to Hawaii from Oakland, San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento. The roads are ssubject to government approvals required. From California, airlines are planning to serve Honolulu to O'ahu, Kahului to Maui, Kona to Hawai'i Island and Līhue to Kaua'i.
According to the company's website, Southwest also intends to provide an inter-island service so that passengers can also travel between the Hawaiian Islands.
Southwest made its first validation flight to Hawaii earlier this month and conducted test flights in the islands as part of its licensing process with the FAA.
To find out more about airlines' service intentions, customers can visit Southwest.com/Hawaii.