Southwest Airlines has been granted a revocable permit for space at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.
“We understand there is a lot of excitement regarding the service and we are working with the airline to accommodate its logistical needs,” state Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara said today in a statement. “Southwest Airlines is currently seeking its Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) clearance, which would allow the airline to make the trans-Pacific flights.”
The Dallas-based carrier, which reiterated today that it still intends to sell tickets this year, said it is not ready yet to announce its routes.
“We don’t have anything to share today other than to echo the building excitement of our employees and fans as Southwest approaches a long-desired opportunity to serve the Hawaiian Islands,” Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said. “Our work continues on the mainland and with the State of Hawaii to ready the landscape for our service that only would follow required governmental approvals.”
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said in an earnings conference call in January that the airline’s goal was to be flying to Hawaii by the end of this year but that the launch date could be pushed into early 2019.
“We’re working with the federal government (Federal Aviation Administration),” he said. “And now it will be dependent upon their timetable … In the grand scheme of things, whether we’re flying late this year or early next year, it won’t matter over the next generation … We want to launch when everything is all lined up. And if we get it done and we’re up and flying by the end of this year, I’ll be happy. I think everybody will be. If we don’t, it won’t be the end of the world.”