Southwest Airlines Possible Further Hawaii Expansion

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Southwest Airlines has announced plans to serve four airports in Hawaii including Honolulu (Oahu), Kahului (Maui), Lihue (Kauai), and Kona (Big Island). However one airport which wasn’t initially announced was Hilo (Big Island), however per a recent interview, it appears Southwest may be considering service there as well.

What’s unique about Southwest’s Hawaii service compared to that of Delta, American, and United is in addition to the service from the mainland to Hawaii, they plan to offer a robust inter-island connection service as well. So, if we were to see service to Hilo (Big Island), it likely wouldn’t be from the mainland, but rather from Honolulu or Maui as connecting service.

Per the Dallas Business Journal,

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) has already announced intentions to fly to four destinations on four different islands: Lihue on Kauai, Honolulu on Oahu, Kahului on Maui and Kona on the Big Island. Residents of the Big Island are clamoring for service on the east coast in addition to Kona on the west coast.

The Big Island encompasses 4,000 square miles, more than double the size of the other three major islands put together. Driving from Hilo Airport on the east coast to Kona Airport on the west coast takes more than 90 minutes.

When it comes to the current commercial service from Hilo, Hawaiian Airlines serves the airport from both Honolulu and Kahului, whereas United Airlines flies to Los Angeles.

Here’s a recap of Southwest Airlines Hawaii routes:

  • Oakland to Honolulu begins once daily on March 17, 2019; Honolulu to Oakland begins once daily on March 18; the route will be flown twice daily in each direction as of March 24.
  • Oakland to Kahului begins once daily on April 7, 2019; Kahului to Oakland begins once daily on April 8; the route will be flown twice daily in each direction as of April 10.
  • Interisland service four times daily in each direction between Honolulu and Kahului begins April 28.
  • San Jose to Honolulu service begins May 5, once daily in each direction.
  • Interisland service four times daily in each direction between Honolulu and Kona begins May 12.
  • San Jose to Kahului service begins May 26, once daily in each direction.

Southwest has already confirmed the next two U.S. mainland destination to receive Hawaii service will be San Diego and Sacramento.

What are your thoughts on Southwest Airlines whether they should add Hilo as part of their inter-island flights? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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  1. We need a connection from Hilo because as they say it takes 90 minutes to drive to Kona to get on a Southwest plane. I believe many people from the Eastside will use this service often. We appreciate and welcome Southwest airlines to Hawaii and hope that they consider adding Hilo Hawaii to their service area. Thank you.

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  3. We in Hilo need the competition for flights to the neighbor islands. Hawaiian airlines has a monopoly. Competition is good for EVERYBODY!!!

  4. Southwest Airlines should schedule Hilo flights. First, the addition of Southwest Airlines gives East Hawai`i residents a deep sigh of relief from the high cost of airfare charged by Hawaiian Airlines. Second and equally important, visitors to the Big Island will have the opportunity to visit the entire island and still use the same carrier. For example, visitors will be able to arrive in Hilo and depart from Kona – and vice versa. It’s a win-win for the visitors, the residents, Southwest Airlines, Hilo, and Kona.

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