After months of delays, Airline officials confirmed on Wednesday the news we’ve all been waiting for; Southwest Airlines receives ETOPS Certification!
Last week, Southwest Airlines completed its ETOPS validation flights. Completion of that last step paved the way for the Airline to receive its final certification. However, concerns regarding an ongoing labor dispute with its mechanics’ union and improper weight calculations and balancing made me wonder if Southwest wouldn’t receive certification until those issues were resolved. But I have been (gladly) proven wrong.
Now that Southwest has its ETOPS certification, they’re clear to begin selling tickets. And, as you’ll recall, that exactly how they said the process would work. So, I think ticket sales will begin within the next few days with flights commencing in April.
As far as initial routes, I’m guessing Southwest will start with Oakland and maybe LAX to Honolulu. We know the rollout will occur gradually, and I’m guessing they’ll commence all Honolulu routes before beginning routes to Kahului, Lihue, and Kona. Then, and only then, will Southwest begin it’s neighbor island flights, which are the flights I’m most looking forward to.
Farther off into the distance, we can look forward to Southwest possibly flying between Las Vegas and Honolulu. That’s a route that we desperately need competition on, much like our inter-island routes.
Southwest Airlines Receives ETOPS Certification, Final Thoughts
Say what you want about Southwest and how the Southwest Effect isn’t real, but Southwest coming to Hawaii is a good thing. More competition is always better than less, and having real competition on inter-island flights will be great for Hawaii. And, no, as I’ve always said before, I don’t plan on flying Southwest myself. I plan on keeping my flying with Alaska Air as much as possible and supplement that with Delta when I have to.