Southwest recently started flying to Hawaii. Now it plans to add Hilo

Hawaii Gov. David Ige greets Southwest Airlines’ inaugural flight to Hawaii touches down in Daniel K
Hawaii Gov. David Ige greeted Southwest Airlines’ inaugural flight to Hawaii in Honolulu on March 17.
(Stephen M. Keller / Southwest Airlines)

Southwest Airlines started service between California and Hawaii in March. Now the budget carrier plans to add another destination: Hilo, on the island of Hawaii. The airline gave few details about the upcoming service.

“Big news for the Island of Hawaii!” Southwest posted on Twitter on May 11. “We’re excited to announce that Hilo will be the fifth airport served by Southwest in the Hawaiian Islands.”

Hilo is located on the east side of the island, close to the popular Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Service to the city would connect through Honolulu, media reports said.

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The airline began service between Oakland and and Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) on March 17 and currently operates nonstop flights to Hawaii from Oakland and San Jose. The airline earlier said it would start service between Hawaii and San Diego and Sacramento, but no dates have been announced. (No Los Angeles flights are planned.)

Southwest serves Honolulu, Kona, on the west side of Hawaii Island, and Kahului on Maui. It earlier announced plans to fly to Lihue on Kauai (no date given), and started inter-island flights last weekend between Kona and Honolulu.

An earlier L.A. Times story said Southwest’s entry into the Hawaii market caused a 17% drop in April in airfares between California and Hawaii, compared with the same time last year.


“Whenever you have a new player in a market and a lot more seats, fares will drop,” aviation analyst Seth Kaplan said. “It’s usually good news for consumers when there is more competition in the market.”


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