Hawaii is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, and now it may become even cheaper to get there.
Southwest Airlines, who have traditionally focused on flying shorter routes in the States, will expand their services to the popular island destination beginning in 2018 or 2019. Flights will initially take off from California, but are expected to expand to other Southwest hubs soon after.
Plane tickets to Hawaii’s Big Island, Oahu, and Maui are already being offered by airlines such as Alaska, United, and Delta for as low as $352 round-trip. But with the entry of Southwest into the market, travelers can expect a low-cost alternative, which is typically what the airline carrier aims to do.
“On average, our fares will be lower than theirs or bring down the market price. That’s called the ‘Southwest Effect,’” executive vice president Andrew Watterson says.
However, in a report from Bloomberg, some analysts believe an airline like Southwest could struggle with the new route. Due to the high demand and overcrowding at a popular vacation spot such as Hawaii, servicing the trips could pose an issue.
In all likelihood, Southwest will be losing money during their first couple years of service, and could be forced to scale back or even cut off Hawaiian trips if they cannot maintain their margins.
However, CEO Gary Kelly remains optimistic about the opportunity. “Hawaii is an important place for Southwest Airlines because so many people count on us to take them everywhere they want to go reliably and affordably. We’re ready and excited to address a request we’ve heard for years,” he said during a company-wide gathering last week.