Southwest Is Ready to Start Selling Those Cheap Tickets to Hawaii — but It Can’t Until the Government Shutdown Ends
If you’re dreaming of jet-setting on that Hawaii getaway on Southwest, you’ll have to delay your trip.
Not only has the federal government shutdown raised concerns about the TSA and other airport staff becoming shorthanded due to workers calling in sick or quitting their jobs, it looks like passengers on Southwest are also going to be postponing their dream Hawaiian vacations.
According to Bloomberg, Southwest Airlines, which had hoped to begin service to Hawaii from several California airports in the first quarter of 2019, has to gain certification and approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for extended flights over water, or extended-range twin-engine operational performance standards (ETOPS).
Unfortunately, all of the airlines’ efforts to secure approval have been halted due to the federal government shutdown, since workers who oversee these operations have been on forced, temporary leave.
“The groups within the FAA that oversee ETOPS authorizations are furloughed, and our next steps require their direct participation and oversight,” the carrier said in a statement, Bloomberg reported.
Southwest has no new timeline as to when it will be offering service to Hawaii this year, which may mean that even the airline is unsure as to when they will be able to offer it to travelers. The federal government shutdown is about to enter its fourth week, and is officially the longest shutdown in history, according to CNN. Currently, there is no end date announced.
According to USA Today, Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish said the airline was still preparing for Hawaii service internally, but nothing can go through until the furlough is lifted. The airline had hoped to start selling tickets at the end of 2018.
As soon as the airline does receive its ETOPS certification, it plans to launch flights and sell tickets as soon as possible, USA Today reported.