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Southwest Airlines adding service to Hawaii, no word on Phoenix flights

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

PHOENIX — Southwest Airlines announced Wednesday that it was planning to add service to Hawaii soon, but was still working through the details.

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,” Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly told a gathering of Southwest workers in California.

“We’re ready and excited to address a request we’ve heard for years.”

Tickets for Southwest’s Hawaii service were expected to go on sale next year.

A release said Southwest planned to begin flights to Hawaii from California, but that would be expanded “multi-market offering among our West Coast cities and the Hawaiian Islands.”

There was no immediate word on if Phoenix would be one of those West Coast cities.

Southwest said some of its planes would need a special certification from the Federal Aviation Administration before flights could begin.

Phoenix would be a logical choice for direct flights to the Hawaiian Islands. Southwest announced earlier this year that it would expand its presence at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and take over another concourse, adding eight gates.

“Our customers tell us they love the hospitality they receive at Sky Harbor and we’re looking forward to welcoming them into our new space when the new concourse opens in just a few short years,” Southwest Airlines President Tom Nealon said in a press release.

In addition to taking over its fourth concourse in the terminal, Southwest will also spend $40 million to double its maintenance facilities at Sky Harbor and add a hangar.

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