South­west will be­gin flights to Hawaii, but no word on from where

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Mary Sch­langen­stein Ta­mara Chuang con­trib­uted to this story.

South­west Air­lines is fi­nally go­ing to start fly­ing to Hawaii, and a top ex­ec­u­tive says ticket prices will get cheaper.

Flights to the state will be­gin next year or in 2019, the dis­count car­rier said. The ini­tial ser­vice will be from Cal­i­for­nia, said Chief Rev­enue Of­fi­cer An­drew Wat­ter­son, with­out elab­o­rat­ing on spe­cific routes.

“We see prices higher than they need to be and we an­tic­i­pate low­er­ing fares,” Wat­ter­son said.

Ac­cord­ing to South­west, it’s way too soon to share which air­ports will get a Hawaii route.

Den­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port doesn’t need to grant any per­mis­sions for South­west to add a flight to Hawaii from Den­ver, said Heath Mont­gomery, a DIA spokesman.

“The air­lines make their own de­ci­sions about where to fly,” Mont­gomery said in an email. “We would be happy to sup­port that, how­ever!”

Start­ing in De­cem­ber, United plans to boost ser­vice on 11 routes between the U.S. main­land and Hawaii. The car­rier is adding flights to the islands from its hubs in Chicago, Den­ver, Los An­ge­les and San Fran­cisco.

The Dal­las-based air­line in the com­ing weeks will be­gin seek­ing fed­eral ap­proval to op­er­ate its planes on ex­tended over-water routes. That process typ­i­cally takes about a year to 18 months and flights to Hawaii can’t be­gin un­til it’s com­pleted.

Tick­ets will go on sale next year, South­west said in a state­ment late Wed­nes­day. Even if Hawaii flights start in 2018, they won’t al­ter fleet or ca­pac­ity plans for the year, the com­pany said.

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