Southwest Airlines scales back flights to, between Hawaiian Islands

Southwest scales back service, focuses on interisland travel amid coronavirus pandemic

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Southwest Airlines is reducing the number of routes it flies from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii by nearly 90 percent because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus, the company’s president tells Hawaii News Now.

Southwest, which typically flies 14 trans-Pacific routes to Hawaii on a daily basis, will soon begin operating just two such routes ― both from Oakland to Honolulu.

The passengers on those flights, like all others arriving to the Hawaiian islands, will be forced to isolate for 14-days now that Gov. Ige’s emergency quarantine order has gone into effect.

“It’s important that we sustain some level of California to Hawaii flying,” company president Tom Nealon said.

Nealon says the airline will also sustain some level of inter-island, though the number of those routes Southwest flies has also been cut in half, from 38 down to 19.

Passenger arrivals to Hawaii airports have plummeted in recent days; Hawaii Tourism Authority officials say the total number of passengers arriving in Hawaii was down 85 percent on Monday and Tuesday of this week, compared to the same two dates last week.

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.