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Southwest Airlines new Hawaii flights stalled by government shutdown

January 15, 2019 / Dawn Gilbertson

Southwest Airlines' long-awaited flights to Hawaii are on hold due to the federal government shutdown. The problem: The airline needs to complete the Federal Aviation Administration's certification process for extended overwater flights, but the FAA workers who oversee those so-called ETOPS activities are on furlough. Southwest received key ETOPS approvals before the shutdown, covering its manuals and proposed procedures, but the final steps, including "validation'' flights, remain. Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish said the airline continues to prepare for Hawaii internally but can't complete the process until the required FAA employees are back on the job