Southwest gets permit to operate at Honolulu's airport

Southwest gets permit to operate at Honolulu's airport
(Image: Southwest Airlines/Savannah Kestral)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Southwest Airlines is a little bit closer to launching flights in the islands.

The budget carrier was issued a revocable permit this month to operate at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

Southwest has said it could start flying to Hawaii as early as December.

During a conference call with analysts and reporters in January, CEO Gary Kelly said the company's planning for the much-anticipated route is well underway. He said the actual timetable depends on FAA approvals.

Faced with soaring West Coast and inter-island fares, many Hawaii customers are hoping Southwest's entry will trigger a fare war with legacy carriers like Hawaiian and United Airlines.

Southwest is known for its low operating costs, and competes by passing on some of those cost savings to passengers by lowering ticket prices.

But airline industry experts don't think prices will drop that much since Southwest's planes are less fuel efficient than their competitors'.

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