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Southwest Airlines could launch new routes to Hawaii as early as March

Kristin Finan
kfinan@statesman.com
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 takes off from Tampa International Airport. Southwest is expected to start offering flights to Hawaii this year. [File photo]

Dreaming of Hawaii? You may soon have another way to get there.

On Tuesday, Southwest Airlines will make its first test flight from Oakland, Calif., to Honolulu, according to USA Today. The flight, which will not have passengers on board, is necessary for the airline to obtain "ETOPS" certification from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate long overwater flights.

Although the certification process was delayed in part because of the government shutdown, some sources have said flights could be offered to passengers as early as mid-March. Initial flights will leave out of California cities including Oakland, San Diego, Sacramento and San Jose, with service into Honolulu, Kona, Kahului and Lihue, Southwest has said. Inter-island service will also be offered.

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