Via Advertiser: News yesterday that Southwest Airlines might begin flights to Hawaii!


CEO Gary Kelly said the company will make a decision before the end of the year on whether to add larger Boeing 737-800 airplanes to its fleet, which would "bring us the opportunity to consider a destination like Hawaii."  Kelly said the earliest Southwest could take delivery of the 737-800s would be 2012.

State tourism liaison Marsha Wienert:  "With their network of flights, especially in the Midwest, it opens up a whole new market that has been virtually untapped for some time," she said.

"Keith Vieira, senior vice president for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii, echoed the sentiment.  "This opportunity with Southwest will enable us to better reach their customer base in the Southwest area of the United States, which is a very good market to Hawaii. ... It will be a definite boon to travel for us if they're able to connect to us directly," he said."

Adding Hawaii would also provide a destination for regular Southwest customers redeeming their frequent-flier credits.

This is great news for the economy of Hawaii.  More flights mean more tourists = more money for Hawaii. I have often heard people in the midwest and mountain states wish they could use their Southwest miles to fly here.  Now they just have to wait a couple years and hopefully they can! 

This also tells us that Southwest thinks the Hawaii tourism industry is rebounding enough to make a big committment like this. 

All good news!