After years of hinting, Southwest Airlines finally confirmed the four airports it will soon begin serving in Hawaii. The popular low-cost airline will fly to four of the top Hawaiian island destinations, serving the islands of Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai, with service to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Oahu (Honolulu; HNL), Kahului Airport in Maui (OGG), Lihue Airport in Kauai (LIH), and Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole in Hawaii (KOA). Exact route information or start times have not been announced, but Southwest said that they will begin selling the seats in 2018, with travel to begin either at the end of the year or the beginning of 2019.
The formal announcement came in Southwest’s quarterly report at the end of April. CEO Gary Kelly has made it clear that the first step in serving Hawaii will be through originating flights out of California. This is good news for residents of the Golden State looking to escape to Hawaii on lower fares. Not only does this add more routes to the island from the west coast, but Southwest’s lower than average fares historically lead to more competitive pricing across the board on the routes that it serves. The venerable Southwest Airlines Companion Pass will also become more valuable on these routes. The largest Southwest hubs in California are in Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Diego.