Alaska Airlines Enters Agreement to Buy Hawaiian Airlines

by Anthony Losanno
Alaska Plane

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Alaska Airlines has entered into a definitive agreement to buy Hawaiian Airlines. The two airlines would remain independent brands post acquisition, but would combine loyalty programs.

The fifth largest US airline would expand to operate a fleet of 365 narrow and widebody aircraft and reach 138 destinations through the combined networks. This would also offer flyers access to more than 1,200 destinations globally through the oneworld Alliance. This combination would build on the 90+ year legacies and cultures of the two airlines while preserving the brand legacies and loyalties they both hold.

Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines CEO, said:

This combination is an exciting next step in our collective journey to provide a better travel experience for our guests and expand options for West Coast and Hawaii travelers. We have a longstanding and deep respect for Hawaiian Airlines, for their role as a top employer in Hawaii, and for how their brand and people carry the warm culture of aloha around the globe. Our two airlines are powered by incredible employees, with 90+ year legacies and values grounded in caring for the special places and people that we serve. I am grateful to the more than 23,000 Alaska Airlines employees who are proud to have served Hawaii for over 16 years, and we are fully committed to investing in the communities of Hawaii and maintaining robust Neighbor Island service that Hawaiian Airlines travelers have come to expect. We look forward to deepening this stewardship as our airlines come together, while providing unmatched value to customers, employees, communities and owners.”

Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO, added:

Since 1929, Hawaiian Airlines has been an integral part of life in Hawaii, and together with Alaska Airlines we will be able to deliver more for our guests, employees and the communities that we serve. In Alaska Airlines, we are joining an airline that has long served Hawaii, and has a complementary network and a shared culture of service. With the additional scale and resources that this transaction with Alaska Airlines brings, we will be able to accelerate investments in our guest experience and technology, while maintaining the Hawaiian Airlines brand. We are also pleased to deliver significant, immediate and compelling value to our shareholders through this all-cash transaction. Together, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines can bring our authentic brands of hospitality to more of the world while continuing to serve our valued local communities.”

Under the combined company, Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) would become a key hub with expanded service for residents of Hawaii to the Continental US as well as new connections to Asia and throughout the Pacific for travelers across the US.

This is far from a done deal as the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) will need to approve the merger. It has opposed JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit Airlines and is currently in court now. The DOJ has made it clear that it wants to keep competition in market. This deal would create dominance within a specific geography and reduce competitiveness. I’m not sure what concessions could be made to appease the DOJ in this case.

Anthony’s Take: Alaska might want to buy Hawaiian Airlines, but I see opposition coming from the DOJ and will be watching closely to see what objections it makes and if any possible remedies are possible to create this combined entity.

(Featured Image Credit: Alaska Airlines.)

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