GROUNDED: What’s Really Behind The Delay In Southwest Airlines Flights To Hawaii

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We’ve been hearing the same thing for more than a year — Southwest Airlines will soon be flying to Hawaii from California. The new routes have been teased in earnings calls and corporate statements for months and months. Many reports stated tickets would start being sold by the end of 2018, with flights beginning in early 2019.

Well, here we are in January 2019 — and the goalposts keep shifting. The latest statements speak to a “peak winter season,” and sources tell the Chicago Business Journal the earliest flights would begin in “March or April.” So what’s really behind the delay — and why is a supposedly transparent airline keeping travelers in the dark about the truth? Here is what’s really happening:

  • ETOPS: Southwest can not begin flights to Hawaii until it achieves ETOPS certification, which stands for Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards. Essentially, ETOPS is a rule that permits aircraft to fly routes which include a period of time where the aircraft is more than 60 minutes flying time away from the nearest airport suitable for an emergency landing. Obviously this is essential for flights to Hawaii, and a new certification for the airline. This hasn’t happened yet for several reasons.

The “Transfarency” airline? Where’s the real transparency?

These are just some of the potential snags facing Southwest as we enter 2019, with no end in sight in its quest to begin flights to Hawaii. It’s important for the “Transfarency” airline to be transparent with the public, the media — and its employees.

As the champions and protectors of airline safety culture at Southwest, we hope to help in this process. But a key element of that will be a fair and sufficient contract — so we can continue to share our safety expertise as Southwest expands across the Pacific.

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We are independent Aircraft Maintenance Technicians committed to the highest safety standards. Safety in the Air Begins with Quality Maintenance on the Ground.

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