San Diegans may soon have a new way to get to Hawaii.
Southwest Airlines has announced San Diego will be one of just a handful of cities in California to offer new nonstop service to Hawaii, fulfilling a long promise to offer flights to the popular island destination, pending regulatory approval.
The airline will also offer direct flights to Hawaii from Sacramento, Oakland and San Jose in the Bay Area as well.
At first, Southwest plans to offer service to four airports in Hawaii: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu (HNL), Kahului Airport on Maui (OGG), Lihue Airport on Kauai (LIH), and Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) on the leeward side of The Island of Hawaii.
However, no dates have been announced as the airline waits for approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. The process may take months to complete.
For the past two years, Southwest officials have been meeting with community members across the islands to gain insight on potential service, the airline said.
This announcement comes as the next step in the process, officials said. The airline plans to sell tickets later this year for the service if all goes according to plan.
"The way we plan to serve Hawaii requires us to share these initial details now so that our facilities in the airports will be ready for all that we intend to offer," Southwest President Tom Nealon told the gathering in Waikiki, according to a statement. "We're on-track with our plans to sell tickets this year and are respectfully engaged in the process to receive FAA authorization to operate between the mainland and the Islands."
Nealon said the airline plans to ramp up service down the line and may offer some interisland flights as well.