Alaska Airlines will acquire Hawaiian carrier for US$1.9 billion

US carriers will combine operations, but preserve independent brands. Hawaii set to become Alaska hub, but fleet may be a challenge ahead

Alaska Air Group and Hawaiian Holdings announced on Sunday an agreement that the parent company of Alaska Airlines will acquire Hawaiian Airlines for approximately $1.9 billion ($900 million in net debt).

The two carriers, which feature the country’s 49th and 50th states in their branding, are expected to gain major momentum together by being able to transport nearly 55 million passengers per year.

“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 Hawai‘i travelers,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines CEO.

“Since 1929, Hawaiian Airlines has been an integral part of life in Hawai’i, and together with Alaska Airlines we will be able to deliver more for our guests, employees and the communities that we serve,” added Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO.

Together, Alaska and Hawaiian will have a fleet of 365 aircraft that will operate 138 destinations (Alaska Airlines)

According to the statement, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines will preserve their brands, however, they will operate on a single platform.

Together, the two carriers fly to 138 destinations, including 29 international destinations across continents in Asia, Australia, the South Pacific and the Americas – they are also part of the oneworld alliance.

Among the first joint steps is the expansion of services from Hawaii, whose capital, Honolulu, will be a hub for Alaska Airlines, connecting the Asia-Pacific region to the US West Coast.

Boeing vs Airbus

The acquisition by Alaska should promote profound changes in the Hawaiian fleet, which currently flies with Airbus jets in addition to some Boeing 717s that are expected to be removed from service soon.

Alaska Airlines has just standardized its fleet with Boeing 737 aircraft after selling ten A321neo jets that it inherited from Virgin America. Regional Horizon Air operates 83 Embraer E175s as well.

Hawaiian and Alaska Airlines’ route networks barely overlap (FlightRadar24)

Combined, the fleets of the two airlines reach 374 aircraft, including 25 A330 widebodies. Hawaiian, however, has an order for 12 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners pending delivery.

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Although the transaction was approved by the board of both companies, the agreement still depends on the approval of regulatory authorities and also Hawaiian Airlines shareholders. The deal is expected to be completed within 12 to 18 months.


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