Alaska Airlines has announced a $1.9 billion deal to acquire Hawaiian Airlines, subject to regulatory approval. The consolidation would make Alaska Airlines the nation’s fifth-largest carrier. Under the agreement, both brands will continue to operate independently, with the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu becoming Alaska Airlines’ second main hub. The combined airlines would boast a fleet of 365 narrow and widebody aircraft, serving 138 destinations. The deal is expected to take up to 18 months to finalize.
Residents of Hawaii are expected to benefit from expanded services to the continental United States, while the merger aims to create new connections to Asia and throughout the Pacific for travelers across the US. Both airlines focus on serving areas uniquely reliant upon air travel, including the Pacific archipelago and the frontier state of Alaska.
Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram emphasized the commitment to Hawaii, stating that the additional scale and resources from the transaction with Alaska Airlines would accelerate investments in technology while maintaining the Hawaiian Airlines brand.
However, regulatory approval is not guaranteed, as US airlines face intensified competition and scrutiny over consolidation efforts. The Biden administration has shown a cautious approach, recently blocking an alliance between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways and seeking to halt JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit Airlines. Federal antitrust concerns and considerations for consumer welfare will play a significant role in the regulatory review of the Alaska Airlines-Hawaiian Airlines deal.