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Southwest Expands Hawaii Flights, Pushes Back Return Of Troubled Boeing Max Again

Matt Rourke/AP
Southwest Airlines jet approaches Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019.

Southwest Airlines is scheduled to begin service between Sacramento and Hawaii on Sunday, part of its expanding flight schedule in the islands since entering the market and challenging local leader Hawaiian Airlines earlier this year.

The Sacramento to Honolulu flights were scheduled to begin in January, USA Today reported, but were moved up. 

The airline also announced it is beginning service to San Diego in April, with introductory fares of $129 each way, although the availability can be limited, especially during the holidays.

Service from Oahu to Maui will also be increased in April. Two more daily flights between Honolulu and Kahului are scheduled, bringing the total number of flights each way to six.

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines has again pushed back the return of its Boeing 737 Max jets as Boeing tries to fix the aircraft following two deadly crashes, a move that could affect its Hawaii flights.

Southwest said Friday that it will keep its Max out of its schedule until March 6, about a month longer than previously planned, citing continued uncertainty.

The airline says it's monitoring information from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration about software improvements and pilot-training requirements that will be part of returning the plane to flight.

Without the planes, Southwest says it will cancel about 175 flights each weekday. Southwest had 34 MAX planes when they were grounded in March and had expected more to be delivered this year.

American and United have taken their Maxes out of the schedule until at least January.

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