Hawaiian Anticipates Summer Boom, Adding More Flights Pre-Merger

Hawaiian Airlines Still Open To Other Merger Offers | Further Details Exposed

In an SEC filing we obtained earlier today, Hawaiian Airlines answered further questions about the planned acquisition of the Hawaii bellwether by Seattle-based Alaska Airlines. This filing followed a Hawaiian Airlines’ employee Q&A held after the merger announcement.

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Hawaiian may consider other offers beyond Alaska Airlines.

Clearly, Hawaiian is looking to be acquired. That makes sense for various reasons, as the company deals with the complexity of further expansion and modernization as a regional carrier. And especially given the $900 million in debt it has racked up over the past few years.

It isn’t clear, however, as to who another offer could come from. While questionable in terms of its feasibility, we’ve suggested for years that JetBlue might be a contender. Could it be easier to get that merger through the government regulators since those two airlines do not overlap routes like Alaska does with Hawaiian.

In the SEC filing, this question arose, “Are you open to other offers? What if Alaska backs out of the deal?” Here’s what their board said:

“(We) may consider other unsolicited offers for Hawaiian Airlines with the best interest of our shareholders in mind. However, we are focused on the agreement we reached with Alaska Airlines, which we believe is the best path forward for our company.”

Hawaiian Airlines Board Statement, SEC Filing.

Merger with Alaska proceeds while looking for future resiliency.

That being said, the filing detailed, “Both companies are committed to taking the steps necessary to proceed with shareholder approval and regulatory review of the combination. And that “We are also continuing to invest in our independent business, which will set us up for a strong future under any scenario.”

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How Hawaiian sees this merger plan compared with others.

“We believe our transaction provides broader consumer benefits and more consumer choice than other acquisitions in the airline industry. Our deal combines complementary networks to provide consumers with access to more domestic and international destinations with award-winning service while preserving both brands.”

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JetBlue/Spirit merger prospects.

Many are wondering how the Alaska/Hawaiian deal can go through while the JetBlue/Spirit deal is stuck. The federal government has sued to try to block the merger of JetBlue and Spirit. It says the deal would lead to reduced competition, higher airfares, and fewer consumer choices. “We allege that if allowed to proceed, this merger will limit choices and drive up ticket prices for passengers across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland when the lawsuit was announced. JetBlue would change Spirit’s low-cost, charge-for-everything model.

It isn’t clear yet how any objections to the merger by the government will present.

The previous merger between US Airways and American Airlines was also blocked. In the end, however, a settlement that required relinquishing some gates and flight slots was achieved.

How long has this Alaska/Hawaiian Airlines deal been in the works?

Hawaiian responded, saying Alaska had approached them “several months ago.” We can’t confirm that, although we suspect it may have been somewhat longer than that. The entire plan has been very hush-hush at both airlines, with many employees, other than the highest C-suite executives, totally unaware of the plan until just a week before the proposed acquisition was announced. Frontline personnel did not become aware of the deal until the exact same time when the press was notified, followed by the general public.

Will Hawaiian flight attendants be kept separate from Alaska’s team?

There’s no official answer if the Hawaiian flight attendants will continue working only Hawaii routes or cross over to Alaska flights and visa versa. Other employees impacted are pilots and maintenance personnel.

The airline responded, “We do not have an answer at this time. We will work with Alaska Airlines during the integration process…”

Will the Hawaiian and Alaska liveries (branding) remain unchanged?

Hawaii said, “Alaska has committed to maintaining both the Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines brands, reflected on liveries, at airports and elsewhere. The details of this will be worked through in the months ahead, and we will update you when we know more.”

It seems to us that some hybrid branding might be imminent.

What questions remain in your mind about the upcoming proposed Alaska Airlines acquisition of Hawaiian Airlines?

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