We were thrilled to launch service to Hawaii on Mar. 17, 2019, and interisland service on Apr. 28, 2019, bringing Bay Area Customers access to Hawaii with Southwest’s low fares, and receiving a tremendously warm welcome from communities across Hawaii.
Our Hawaii launch had an exceptional start, exceeding early expectations. The initial flights sold out before the related news release even went out to Customers! Feedback from our Customers has been encouraging. Their satisfaction with our inflight experience is higher than the rest of our system.
While the 2019 grounding of the MAX paused our network expansion plans, we remained focused on launching and developing Hawaii by funding growth from other parts of our route network. We grew our Hawaii service to more than one million Customers in just over nine months. We look forward to bringing the MAX to Hawaii eventually, to realize cost efficiencies that come with the more efficient and quieter aircraft. In the meantime, we continue serving Hawaii with the Boeing 737-800.
Demand for Southwest service to, from, and within Hawaii in 2019, was robust from the start with load factors6363) Passenger load factor is RPMs 37 divided by ASMs 32 . exceeding our system average in 2019, and with many of those Customers starting or containing their journeys in the Islands. We are very pleased with the strength of Customer demand for our service in Hawaii.
Our three gateways from California are Oakland Metropolitan Airport, Mineta San Jose International Airport, and Sacramento International Airport. As of February 2020, the airports Southwest served in Hawaii included Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, Kahului Airport on Maui, Lihue Airport on Kauai, Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, and Hilo International Airport on the Island of Hawaii.
As of Sept. 30, 2019, customers were up 18 percent with fares down 15 percent on the mainland routes we served (compared to the marketplace before Southwest entered with service), and customers were up 10 percent with fares down 17 percent on interisland routes we served.6464) Southwest used data attained from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) O&D (Origin and Destination) Survey for the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2019, based on domestic originating passengers to calculate. This data can be accessed via Diio Mi at https://mi.diio.net 41 In 2019, we created Customer demand, grew the market, and lowered fares—the classic Southwest Effect.