Southwest Airlines is finally going to start taking travelers to island life on Hawaii, by 2019.
After a multitude of requests from both travelers and employees alike, Southwest Airlines is finally bringing on a new desired route – to Hawaii. And not only that, but the airline says prices to get to the islands will become cheaper.
“We see prices higher than they need to be and we anticipate lowering fares,” Southwest’s Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Watterson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The airline will begin flying the route either in 2018 or 2019. It’s partially thanks to Boeing as well – the airplane manufacturer recently upgraded the 737 to the 737 Max, which can tackle longer routes and offers more fuel efficiency. Southwest is the first airline in North America to fly this new jet.
“For us, it’s the perfect fit for Hawaii,” Watterson told the Post-Dispatch. “The Max has got 14 percent better range and 14 percent better fuel burn.”
There’s also a new reservation system that’s helping Southwest offer these flights, which welcomes overnight flights and complicated bookings.
But first, Southwest has to get federal approval to fly its planes over the ocean – and that process can take up to 18 months. Tickets go on sale next year.
But some analysts don’t see the Hawaii flights working out for Southwest.
“We don’t see Southwest having success in Hawaii due to an inferior product and an already crowded marketplace,” said Hunter Keay, a Wolfe Research analyst, in a note to clients reported on by the Post-Dispatch. “We expect Southwest will bleed margins here for a couple years before scaling back or exiting outright.”
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