HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the primary financial sponsor of this week's Global Tourism Summit at the Hawaii Convention Center, members of the Southwest Airlines corporate team are already spending a week in Hawaii.
Market researchers say it won't be long before the airline spends time here on a permanent basis.
Seeking Alpha, a crowd-sourced financial analysis company, reported Monday that they had uncovered documents between Southwest and the Hawaii government that made the carrier's entry into the Hawaiian market a surety.
"We have uncovered government documents that, in our opinion, highlight that Southwest's entry into the market is likely imminent and may be announced shortly," reads Seeking Alpha's article. "We think the only reason that Southwest's entry hasn't already been announced is due to Hurricane Harvey."
The company says it expects Southwest to enter the Hawaiian market by 2018, and that a formal announcement could come at any time – including at some point this week, during the tourism conference.
Reached for comment on Tuesday by Hawaii News Now, Southwest Airlines said it was not prepared to make an announcement on Tuesday.
"We have nothing to announce today regarding future service," said Brad Hawkins, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson. "Our discussions with airports around the globe interested in landing Southwest are ongoing and we've made no secret of our interest in serving the Hawaiian Islands from the U.S. Mainland."
The spokesperson says that Hawaii ranks high on the company's list of opportunities.