Alaska Airlines will add non-stop service between Sacramento and Kona on the "Big Island' of Hawaii.
A schedule of three weekly flights will begin on Dec. 20, with Alaska Airlines using Boeing 737 aircraft on the route.
The Kona service will give Alaska a second route between the California capital and the state of Hawaii; the carrier already flies between Sacramento and the Kahului Airport on the island of Maui.
Alaska's new Sacramento-Kona route comes ahead of possible service on rival Southwest, which competes fiercely with Alaska Airlines in the California market.
Southwest has revealed its intention to fly to Hawaii, though the start of that service will come only after Southwest secures certification to use its two-engine Boeing 737s for the long overwater flights from the U.S. mainland.
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However, that wait hasn't stopped Southwest from trickling out plans for Hawaii once the certification comes through.
Southwest has not revealed any precise routes, but it has said its first Hawaii routes will come from California. Specifically, Southwest says Sacramento, Oakland, San Diego and San Jose will be its first four destinations to land flights to Hawaii. Further, Southwest also has said that its Hawaii plans eventually call for service to four airports in the state (Honolulu/Oahu, Kahului/Maui, Lihue/Kauai and Kona/Hawaii).
As for Alaska, the carrier has aggressively been trying to cement its position in California since its acquisition of San Francisco-based Virgin America. Acquiring Virgin America, which operated hubs in San Francisco and Los Angeles, also made Seattle-based Alaska Airlines one of the biggest airlines along the U.S. West Coast. (Related: After final flight, Virgin America brand disappears)
"We know our customers love Hawaii, even in sunny California. That's a big reason we're excited to add this new connection between Northern California and the Big Island," John Kirby, Alaska's VP of capacity planning and alliances, says in a statement. "This new route shows Alaska's ongoing commitment to continued growth and investment throughout the West coast."
Hawaii also has proven to be a lucrative market for Alaska Airlines. The carrier says it averages 29 daily departures to the Hawaiian Islands from 10 West Coast cities, including six in California (Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland).
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