Skift Take

We know why consumers have been so interested in Southwest's plans to fly to Hawaii. Southwest tends to stimulate the market at first, so prices drop. We're more curious at why people were so interested in the government approval process. Southwest has been around for nearly 50 years, with an almost perfect safety record. It was always going to win approval. The only question was when.

Southwest Airlines says it has gained government approval to begin flights between California and Hawaii, capping a long effort that was delayed by the government shutdown.

The airline’s chief operating officer, Mike Van de Ven, told employees Wednesday that the Federal Aviation Administration granted the authorization.

Van de Ven says Southwest will announce timing for selling tickets and beginning flights in the coming days.

Southwest plans to launch flights to Hawaii from four cities in California.

The airline needed FAA certification of its ability to operate long, over-water flights where the options for emergency landings are few. In recent weeks Southwest has operated several test flights with FAA personnel on board to monitor such things as navigation and communications.

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Tags: hawaii, southwest airlines

Photo Credit: Southwest Airlines has been approved for Hawaii flights. It did not immediately say when they will start. Bloomberg