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Southwest expands service to Hawaii, adds new routes

A year after it first launched flights to Hawaii, Southwest Airlines is expanding its service to the islands, offering new routes between three West Coast cities and various destinations in the 50th state beginning in March 2020, the airline disclosed on 25 September.

The Dallas-based airline will add new daily service from Sacramento to Kahului on Maui, as well as daily service from Oakland and San Jose to both Lihue, on Kauai, and Kona, on the Big Island. These are in addition to daily service between Sacramento and Honolulu, announced earlier this year, which is due to begin on 10 November. Southwest is also adding a new intra-island flight between Honolulu and Kauai, also to begin in November, bringing its total to 34 intra-island flights in a small but expanding network.

"Demand is strong for our Hawaii service and we’re not just increasing those routes to daily service for our customers, we're also moving up our timeline on two routes set to begin in January, and instead will fly them this year," says Adam Decaire, vice-president of network planning for Southwest.

Southwest began intra-island service in Hawaii in April, and told media a month later that it was already performing "extraordinarily well".

The airline's announcement comes the same day a main competitor in the islands, Hawaiian Airlines, announced it was exploring opportunities to expand into other cities on the North American continent and around the Pacific Rim.

On 26 September, Southwest said it would launch several other new routes at the same time, including twice-daily service from Houston (Hobby) airport to Cozumel, Mexico, and weekly seasonal service between Baltimore-Washington and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos islands. The airline will also offer new flights from Denver to Des Moines as well as from Atlanta to Memphis.

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