FAA OKs California-Hawaii flights for Southwest

  • A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 takes off as another taxis in the north runway complex at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Sept. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

KAILUA-KONA — Southwest Airlines plans to announce its inaugural flights to Hawaii when it publishes its schedule in the coming days after the Federal Aviation Administration gave the airline approval to run flights between California and the islands.

The airline in a statement said teams are now finalizing plans to offer service to the state.

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In addition to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, flights are also expected to come into the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole in Kona as well as the Kahului Airport in Maui and Lihue Airport in Kauai.

Flights will run from four California airports, including Oakland, San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento.

Southwest has also announced its intention to offer interisland service.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday it has granted Southwest Airlines approval to begin flights between California and Hawaii, capping the airline’s effort to extend its reach 2,400 miles across the Pacific.

The Dallas-based airline’s chief operating officer, Mike Van de Ven, said Southwest will announce timing for selling tickets and beginning flights in the coming days.

The FAA will increase oversight of Southwest for the first six months, an agency spokesman said, adding that the additional monitoring is standard practice.

Southwest needed FAA certification of its ability to operate long, over-water flights with twin-engine jets where the options for emergency landings are few. In recent weeks Southwest has operated several test flights with FAA personnel on board to monitor such things as navigation and communications.

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Southwest hoped to begin selling Hawaii tickets last year, but that had slipped even before the 35-day partial government shutdown, which began in late December and resulted in the furlough of thousands of FAA employees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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