Alaska Air Buys Hawaiian for $1.9B


Alaska Air Buys Hawaiian for $1.9B
© Getty Images News/Maja Hitij

Alaska Air (ALK) has announced a significant acquisition of Hawaiian Airlines (HA) for $1.9 billion, marking a pivotal moment in the aviation industry. This strategic move, the result of several months of negotiations, was confirmed by Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci in a recent news conference.

The deal includes assuming $900 million of Hawaiian Airlines' debt, reflecting the substantial financial scale of this merger. Minicucci emphasized the synergy between the two airlines, stating, “This is a fantastic deal that brings two airlines with amazing loyalties in our regions together”.

He highlighted the merger's potential to offer customers in both states an array of expanded domestic and international travel options. This acquisition is not just a business transaction but a blend of two airlines with a combined legacy of nearly a century.

A Merger Respecting Legacies and Expanding Services

The uniqueness of this deal lies in the decision to maintain both brands, a gesture of respect for the airlines' long-standing heritage and commitment to the communities they serve.

Peter Ingram, CEO and President of Hawaiian Airlines, echoed this sentiment, underlining the significance of preserving the distinct identities of both entities. This merger is set to reshape Honolulu into Alaska Airlines' second-largest hub, enhancing international connectivity for West Coast travelers across the Asia-Pacific region.

The combined fleet will grow to approximately 365 planes, serving 138 destinations, including 29 top international locales in the Americas, Asia, Australia, and the South Pacific. Moreover, Hawaiian Airlines' integration into Alaska’s network, a member of the Oneworld international airline alliance, promises substantial benefits for loyalty customers.

These include lounge access, an enriched credit card loyalty program, and broader opportunities to earn and redeem miles. Ingram expressed optimism about the merger: “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”.

As Minicucci prepares to lead both airlines, he touts the merger as "pro-consumer," positioning the new entity to compete more effectively against major players like United, Delta, Southwest, and American Airlines. This move could shift the dynamics of the domestic market, where these airlines currently hold 80% of the market share.