HONOLULU - Southwest Airlines announced Wednesday it will begin service in Hawaii.

Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines donned an aloha shirt as he made the announcement during a company gathering in Southern California.

"Southwest Airlines will serve Hawaii with ticket sales starting in 2018," said Kelly, as the room erupted in cheers. 

Andrew Watterson, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for Southwest Airlines said the Dallas-based carrier has been looking at Hawaii for years.

"It's been a long time coming for us, we've dreamed about this for over ten years," said Watterson.

Watterson said Southwest was looking for the right aircraft to service customers before opening operations in the islands, and Boeing's new 737 Max was the right fit.

"It's much more fuel efficient, much more economically friendly, and ecologically friendly," said Watterson. 

No word yet on a flight schedule but the Dallas-based airline is the nation's largest domestic air carrier.

It currently operates more than 4,000 flights a day spread over 99 destinations in the U.S. and nine countries.

Southwest is also known for offering two free checked bags per passenger.

The airline also doesn't charge change fees.

"We hope our hospitality meshes with the hospitality of the islands," said Watterson. 

Once Southwest gets authorization for Extended Operations from the FAA, the airline will announce routes to Hawaii.