Southwest Airlines has been granted a permit to operate at the Honolulu airport, state transportation officials said.
The Dallas-based carrier was issued a revocable permit this month for space at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday.
"We understand there is a lot of excitement regarding the service, and we are working with the airline to accommodate its logistical needs," said Tim Sakahara, a spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Transportation. "Southwest Airlines is currently seeking its Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards clearance, which would allow the airline to make the trans-Pacific flights."
Southwest is still intending to sell tickets later this year for flights between the mainland and Hawaii, but it has not announced its planned flight routes yet, officials said.
"We don't have anything to share today other than to echo the building excitement of our employees and fans as Southwest approaches a long-desired opportunity to serve the Hawaiian Islands," Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said. "Our work continues on the mainland and with the State of Hawaii to ready the landscape for our service that only would follow required governmental approvals."
Southwest had planned to begin offering Hawaii flights by the end of this year, but officials have said the launch date could be pushed back to early 2019, depending on when it receives approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The airline began the public application process late last year to obtain the FAA certification to operate to and from Hawaii.