Southwest Airlines will soon offer direct flights to Honolulu from Long Beach Airport, the airline announced Thursday, Nov. 19. Beginning in March 2021, Long Beach Airport will join Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento and San Diego as Southwest gateways to Hawaii.
It will be the airline's first direct flight to Hawaii from the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
“Southwest Airlines continues to be an important partner at Long Beach Airport,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a Thursday statement. “Our airport is a key economic engine for our city and this is positive news for our financial recovery."
"We expect even more good news soon,” he added.
Hawaiian Airlines has offered travel routes out of Long Beach Airport since its inaugural flight back in June of 2018.
Southwest currently has 34 flight slots at Long Beach Airport following JetBlue's departure, which provided 17 additional slots. JetBlue's last flight out of Long Beach was Oct. 6, and ended its service the following day.
Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines were both on a waiting list for the slots but declined the opportunity to claim more.
"We're deploying our planes and people to more places that our customers have desired visiting this coming winter and spring break season," Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Watterson said in a statement.
Because of weakened demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, Southwest is only flying 16 of its 34 flight slots from Long Beach Airport. Hawaiian Air has also cut back flights from Long Beach to Hawaii until Dec. 16.
Southwest’s extensive national route system will be able to funnel passengers from around the country to Long Beach Airport on their way to Hawaii, according to the airline, exposing passengers from around the country to the coastal city.
“Long Beach is such a natural Southern California gateway for Southwest service to and from Hawaii, pairing our flexibility and value with the amenities and cool coastal vibe of the airport,” Adam Decaire, vice president of network planning for Southwest, said in a statement.
One-way fares from Long Beach will start at $99.