ATLANTA -- Summer may be over but there's plenty of time to plan for next season. And with a major carrier adding flights to Hawaii in 2018, this may be a good time to start.
Southwest Airlines announced on Wednesday that it has plans to begin selling tickets in 2018 for service to Hawaii with an ultimate goal of extended operations. While service details are still limited, the plans are definitely official - and are listed on the company's investor relations page.
"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," Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said in an announcement to employees in southern California. "We're ready and excited to address a request we've heard for years."
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Southwest intends to launch the application process for Extended Operations Authorization (ETOPS) with the Federal Aviation Administration soon.
"The launch of our ETOPS work begins the next chapter of Southwest Airlines. We're thrilled to bring Hawaii next year as an option to more than 115 million Customers who already fly with us, annually," said Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven.
The company hasn't yet released plans for the flights or how Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport plays into them; however, a quick look at flight plans shows only one airline, Delta, offering direct non-stop flights between Atlanta and the Aloha State.
Many more offer fights with one or more stops along the way, though.