On Wednesday, Chairman and CEO of the airline, Gary Kelly announced plans for the company to submit an application with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin service to the state next year. While service details are still limited, the plans are definitely official - and are listed on the company's investor relations page.
You heard that right.
Hawaiian Airlines issued this statement: "We are no stranger to competition". The carrier announced it will embark on a process to obtain approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for Extended Operations (ETOPS), a regulatory requirement to operate between the mainland and the Hawaiian islands.
Since Southwest Airlines began to challenge the established major airlines in the 1990s, the low-cost carrier has forced its competitors to lower fares in what industry insiders call "the Southwest Effect".
"We're thrilled to bring Hawaii next year as an option to more than 115 million customers who already fly with us annually", said Mike Van de Ven, Soutwest's chief operating officer. Inter-island flights are also a possibility.
Many more offer fights with one or more stops along the way, though.
Southwest Airlines will begin selling tickets to Hawaii next year for service using the carrier's new 175-seat Boeing 737 MAX 8.
David Ige, the governor of Hawaii, also welcomed and invited Southwest's announcement and Tom Nealon, Southwest's President, responded adding, "The unmatched combination of our People and low fares with nothing to hide will be a game-changer in the U.S.to Hawaii market".
"The bigger the airplanes, the lower the cost per seat mile, so the airlines such as Hawaiian and United who offer the bigger planes to and from Hawaii do have the cost advantage", said Forman. Once approved, he said, Southwest will fly most of its routes from California to Kauai, Honolulu and the island of Hawaii. The MAX will be our Hawaii aircraft but, we'll start with our ETOPS-equipped -800 fleet to accelerate our service launch date.
"Hawaii is an important place for Southwest Airlines because so many people count on us to take them everywhere they want to go reliably and affordably".