Southwest Airlines will conduct a validation flight to Hawaii this week, as it continues to work towards certification to begin passenger service to the islands.

The Dallas-based carrier plans to operate a "long-range navigation and communication validation flight" between Oakland and Honolulu with a Boeing 737-800 on 5 February, it tells FlightGlobal. The flight follows completion of long-range navigation tabletop exercises, it adds.
The exercises and validation flight are part of the US Federal Aviation Administration's required extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) certification, something Southwest needs before it can begin scheduled service to Hawaii.

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Southwest began the ETOPS certification process in early 2018 with an aim of beginning ticket sales by year-end. That target has slipped into this year and was further delayed by the partial US government shutdown that ended in January.
The airline plans to offer flights between Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego and San Jose, and Honolulu, Kahului, Kona and Lihue when service begins.
Following a successful validation flight, Southwest must conduct tabletop exercises of its full ETOPS procedures and then conduct more validation flights before the FAA will authorize it to begin Hawaii flights, the airline says.