A Southwest plane flies past the Holiday Inn Long Beach Airport hotel as it makes its final approach at Long Beach Airport. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Southwest Airlines Thursday announced service from Long Beach to Maui beginning in March. The announcement comes after the company saw strong interest in its Honolulu route, which was announced in November and also begins in March.

The new service is another move to increase competition out of the municipal airport. In early December, Hawaiian Airlines—previously the only carrier to offer direct flights from Long Beach to Hawaii—announced daily service to Maui after only offering flights to Honolulu since 2018.

“It’s exciting to see our airport continue to grow in its role as a Southern California launch point for trips to the Hawaiian Islands,” said Mayor Robert Garcia.

Travelers to Hawaii must quarantine upon arrival but may be exempted if they obtain a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of their flight. To assist customers, Long Beach Airport and Hawaiian Airlines have established testing sites on the airport property.

Maui marks the seventh new destination out of Long Beach announced by Southwest since the airline was awarded 17 flight slots at the noise-controlled airport that were vacated by JetBlue Airways. Last month, the airline announced daily service to Chicago Midway, Dallas Love Field, Houston Hobby, Reno and St. Louis.

While Southwest has 34 daily flight slots at Long Beach Airport, the sum of all its recent announcements is 35: Austin (1), Chicago (2), Dallas (1), Denver (3), Honolulu (1), Houston (2), Maui (1), Oakland(5), Phoenix (4), Reno (1), Sacramento (4), San Jose (3), St. Louis (1), Vegas (6).

With the addition of seven destinations in March, the airline would be utilizing 33 of its flight slots. The second daily flights to Chicago and Houston are not slated to begin until April.

It was not immediately clear which upcoming daily service would be scrapped to make room for the Maui flight but Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said it is likely a destination with multiple daily flights would be trimmed based on demand, rather than cutting off any cities.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.