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Could Southwest Buy Alaska or Hawaiian Airlines Next?

Rumors that, if correct, could dramatically change the playing field in Hawaii travel. The Chicago Business Journal is reporting that Southwest CEO Gary Kelly appears to be in the acquisition mode, and Hawaii may not be far from his thoughts and plans. We’re not sure if what is being reported in the Journal article is correct or it is just a slow news day in civil aviation. In any event it definitely caught our attention.

Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are being specifically mentioned as potential takeover targets (in addition to JetBlue). Southwest has certainly been keen to find the best way to enter the Hawaii market soon, and if it works, this path could prove to be the most lucrative of all.

No new information on Hawaii from Southwest since 2014

We have been suspicious about the lack of further developments from Southwest Airlines regarding Hawaii since July 2014. At that time Kelly stated that “it wouldn’t take years to start flights to the islands.” We’ve expected to hear something, especially now that the long drawn out integration of AirTran is complete.

Would this be a good thing if it comes to pass?

Cannibalizing one of our two beloved Hawaii airlines doesn’t sound great for those of us who either live in Hawaii or love vacationing here. Could it prove ideal for Southwest, however?  It would provide them with a strong and immediate Hawaii airline route system, and without adding more inventory to the market to potentially dilute prices and profits?

Any of these suggested acquisitions would be very challenging to pull off in many ways, not the least of which is government approval. Yet stranger things have come to pass and one thing we know for sure is that Hawaii aviation is always in a state of flux. Stay tuned for further developments.



9 thoughts on “Could Southwest Buy Alaska or Hawaiian Airlines Next?”

  1. If SWA were to buy HAL it could be a good thing if done correctly. It would be expanding its base to reach into the pacific and Asia in a fairly successful market. The amount of routes that would then be available to travelers through SW would now cover half the globe. There are already plans to open more direct flights to outer islands for HAL which will boost economy on the other islands. If SW were to apply its policies to Hawaiian flights and take that Hal call center out of foreign countries we could be traveling to more destinations with less of a headache. I have flown both airlines extensively and there are pros and cons to both. One thing that definitely needs to be done is SW needs to revamp their entire flight scheduling system. The user is forced to book on seperate itineraries to fly to domestic and international destinations which I’m sure causes a huge loss in customer satisfaction. The system logic could be built to accommodate domestic and international like any other airlines with the built in restrictions i.e. Passport but still allow traveler to book immediately all transactions. So SWA keep your policies and ideals on how to stay competitive with the benefits and ease of travel but adopt Hawaiians search engines and sister airline companies along with their great service and you will definitely start to compete with some of the top Asian airlines. I have to flown Alaska much so I can’t really comment. Shut Allegiant out of the Hawaii market, their service from customer service to airline service is horrible.

  2. I am interested to find out what the timeline on this would be and at what point flights would be available. I don’t like the idea of SW being a monopoly but I sure would be happy to use the SW I’ve accumulated.

  3. Southwest has been my families and my go to airline on the mainland for yearsI would be thrilled with a Southwest take over of Hawaiian airlines. As local of Hawaii, Hawaiian airlines has raise their prices so much that it is to expensive to fly inner island let alone to the mainland. Hawaiian airlines lost their ALOHA It seems that they are no longer looking at the customer but only looking at the moneys.

  4. Man I hope not!!! That’s just want is needed – less competition. Prices are not as good as they once were and one of the biggest expenses – fuel – is cheap now (may not be that way for ever) – but if there was competition – tickets would be less!!!

  5. This would be bad. The reduced competition will lead to higher prices in most markets. The days of southwest being a low fare carrier are long gone.. We’ve had too many airline mergers already.

  6. Mergers and/or takeovers (friendly or not) never seem to bode well for the traveler. When airlines merge or take over another line our choices plummet. Prices go up. It will be a SAD DAY for Hawaii travel in my opinion. :0( Hope it does NOT become reality.

  7. A Southwest acquisition of Hawaiian and/or Alaskan Airlines would be horrible for people who fly up and down the west coast and to Hawaii and I, personally, would devastated to lose my beloved Hawaiian Airlines. Southwest does not provide a good travel experience, and they’ve been fined thousands of dollars recently for not properly maintaining their equipment. I’d be very uncomfortable using them for a trans-Pacific flight. We need more competition, not less!

  8. The article does not mention “takeover” it simply mentions “merger” which can mean a number of different things.

    In any event if Southwest were to merge with either airline, they would be stupid to kill off either brand.

  9. Hawaiian Airlines would not make sense, since the strategic growth has been in long haul market international market development. But Alaska would make real sense, not only providing access from major SW hubs like Oakland and LA, but they fly an all 737 airline, just like Southwest, who keeps costs down with pilots trained to fly all planes.

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