KAILUA-KONA — Southwest Airlines’ first flight to the Big Island is set to touch down May 12 at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole.
The airline announced Monday its plans to begin service to the Aloha State on March 17, with an inaugural flight from Oakland International Airport in California (OAK) to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu (HNL). Thereafter, the air carrier will begin offering service from other West Coast locales to Honolulu and Maui with connecting service between Honolulu and Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA).
“Hawaii, we’re in this for good,” Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines’ chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
In celebration of the milestone, the airline is offering deals through Tuesday, including $49 flights between Oakland and Honolulu; $29 flights between Honolulu and Kona and $79 flights between Oakland and San Jose and Kona.
“Beyond these introductory fares that celebrate our significant initial investment in serving the islands, our Hawaii customers will experience our everyday value in low fares that offer everybody the same brand standards: no fees to change your ticket and two checked bags fly free,” said Tom Nealon, Southwest Airlines’ president. “We’re focused on bringing Hawaii an authentically Southwest experience with comfort across all seating — for every customer — along with in-cabin snack enhancements for our flights between the State of Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.”
Service between Maui and the West Coast will commence April 7 with an inaugural flight from Oakland to Kahului Airport on Maui. About a month later, the carrier will inaugurate service between Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport and Honolulu. Later that month, on May 26, Southwest’s inaugural flight will take off from San Jose to Kahului.
Southwest will operate its first interisland service within the state between Honolulu and Kahului, four times daily in each direction, beginning April 28. That’ll be followed by service between Honolulu and Kona, four times daily in each direction, beginning May 12.
The additional interisland service, the company said, will make possible connecting service between Kona and both Oakland and San Jose.
More service details, including plans for previously announced gateways of San Diego and Sacramento, and for Lihue, Kauai, will be announced in the coming weeks, Southwest said Monday.