Southwest Working with FAA Officials to Launch Hawaii Service
Southwest Airlines has continued to promote its upcoming service to Hawaii, but the carrier is taking a significant step toward accomplishing that goal Tuesday with the first test flight.
According to CNBC.com, Southwest officials and Federal Aviation Administration inspectors will fly on one of the airline’s Boeing 737-800 planes from Oakland to Honolulu as part of the process to gain government approval to begin commercial flights to Hawaii.
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During the journey, Southwest will demonstrate that its long-range navigation and communication systems meet the requirements for long over-water flights set forth by the extended-range twin-engine operational performance standards (ETOPS).
While the carrier first announced its plans to add Hawaiian service in October 2017, Southwest has faced several issues when attempting to get certification, including the partial federal government shutdown in January.
Federal regulators will determine Southwest’s ability to operate the flights safely since their path will take them more than an hour from the closest airport, but selling tickets for the journeys could be held up again if another government shutdown takes place.
When finally approved, Southwest plans to offer flights to Hawaii from the West Coast, in addition to service between the islands.