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Southwest Airlines to begin service to Hawaii this month

Southwest Airlines is ready to say aloha to its Hawaii Islands flight service.

The low-cost carrier kicked off ticket sales Monday for its first flights to Hawaii, slated to begin March 17 between Oakland and Honolulu, offering a special two-day sale with fares as low as $49 one way.

With the nonstop service planned to expand to eventually originate from four cities in neighboring California, Southwest CEO Kelly told the Review-Journal last month that Southern Nevada would see an impact from the service as well.

“You’ll (Las Vegas) have great access,” he said. “We’ll definitely have Hawaiians taking advantage of access to Las Vegas.”

As of Tuesday morning, booking a flight from Las Vegas, to Oakland and then Honolulu on Southwest ranged between $158 and $683 one-way depending on the departure day — offered between March and October — chosen.

Las Vegas may not have to wait long to fly directly to the island chain via Southwest, as the Kelly said nonstop flights to Hawaii could fly out of McCarran International Airport as soon as 2020.

Southwest, McCarran’s busiest carrier, began using the Boeing 737 Max 7 planes this year, allowing the airline to fly farther than before, which could open up Vegas-to-Hawaii flight option, Kelly said.

It’s (Las Vegas) strong, stable and we’re going to look for opportunities to grow,” he said. “It’s (737 Max 7 planes) something we’re thinking about for Las Vegas and maybe for Hawaii.”

Monday’s launch was successful for Southwest, as discounted fares, running between $49 and $99, sold out within a couple of hours, with a large number of flights totally selling out within a few hours, according to Dan Landson, Southwest spokesperson.

Initial flights to the Hawaiian Islands will operate between Oakland, Calif. and Honolulu, with the daily flights scheduled to depart Oakland at 8:20 a.m., landing in Honolulu at 11:10 a.m. local time.

Additional nonstop service between San Jose, Calif., and Honolulu will begin on May 5, with nonstop service between San Diego and Sacramento and the island chain set to begin at a later date.

“As we answer the call for Southwest in Hawaii with an initial schedule of service that speaks to a long-held hope of our customers, I applaud and congratulate our people for their steady and impressive work to bring our world-famous hospitality and game-changing value to the islands,” Kelly said in a statement.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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