Hawaiian And Alaska Air Enter DOJ Agreement Re Merger

Today, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines announced the companies have reached a significant timing agreement with the United States Department of Justice. That comes in relation to their upcoming merger plans. This is a next critical step in the review process between the airlines and the Department of Justice.

Hawaiian and Alaska are consenting to a stipulation which prevents the finalization of their merger. That will remain in effect until at least 90 days have passed since both companies affirm they have fully complied with the detailed requests for additional information. This second information request was issued by the Department of Justice, as they continue investigating implications of the planned merger. The commitment by the airlines to delay the merger consummation was disclosed in a regulatory filing that was made public today.

This comes amid obvious heightened scrutiny of any airline mergers by the Department of Justice. This follows the failed attempt of JetBlue to acquire Spirit Airlines recently. The airlines have abandoned any idea of pursuing that further.

The Alaska/Hawaiian deal is valued at just under $2 billion, including nearly $1 billion in mounting debt at Hawaiian.

When Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci last spoke about the pending merger, he said that the Spirit-JetBlue ruling was actually pro Alaska’s merger with Hawaiian. That as he believes Alaska’s position will maintain competitive pricing strategies while at the same time integrating Hawaiian Air.

Minicucci continues to acknowledge minimal route overlap between Hawaiian and Alaska. But he did confirm Alaska’s commitment to persevering the Hawaiian brand.

In the end, Minicucci feels that Alaska’s operational model is one that distinguishes the Alaska-Hawaiian merger from previous merger plans.

What’s your take. Is this merger going to fly with the Justice Department or not?

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9 thoughts on “Hawaiian And Alaska Air Enter DOJ Agreement Re Merger”

  1. Over the years, Hawaiian Airlines’ customer service has declined. The phone reps are hard to understand and at times, so frustrating… I have ended the call and called back later with better results.
    The web site / operating system debacle has been going on for a year.
    My hope is for the merged company to use the Alaska Air web / operating system as well as their phone customer service reps
    The Hawai`Ian Air customer service at the airports is great. Very kind, work to find a solution, and professional. True Aloha spirit!!

  2. In the real world, the decision for DOJ is whether consumers will benefit more from a merger or the disappearance of Hawaiian. The loss of Aloha weakened the Hawaiian market and if Hawaiian was forced to fold then it is hard to see that UA/DL/AA would become more competitive.

  3. how the hell can you remove a major carrier from the pnw air mkt and say competention will be enchanced. AS dominates the slots at sea so are they going to offer ha slots to dl/sw? i very much doubt that will ever happen.

    1. There is no talk of “eliminating” HA from SEA. The most likely scenario seems to me is the combination of the two airlines synergies enhancing the options for passengers. Alaska will be flying their planes to Hawaii with connections throughout their route system. They will also be able to use the Hawaiian Air brand to further grow the market. More options for the traveling public, not less. For example Spokane to Hawaii via SEA on Alaska or their “Hawaiian Air” service for people that are so inclined. It’s a powerful marketing tool. Good for the PNW, good for Hawaii and good for the employees of both airlines.

  4. There’s obviously going to be naysayers but the simple fact remains Hawaiian is a powerful brand in Hawaii and the primary issue is the 900 million debt racked up since 2020 from circumstances mostly out of their control and the interest alone that creates. The merger eliminates that. Going forward the Hawaiian/Alaska combination creates a uniquely powerful competitor in the market and of course the larger airlines don’t want that. SWA has been very transparent in taking passive aggressive potshots. As the joint editorial from all 4 County Mayors said, the merger is very good for Hawaii.

  5. The DOJ currently worried that the elimination of Hawaiian as a separate independent airline could force airfares to rise 300%. Since once folded into AlaskaAir corporation the Hawaiian company will become just a Branding image vs being an independent competitive pricing force. Local leaders are worried it could impact Hawaiian inter island tourism since AlaskaAir pricing models usually can’t compete with Southwest in similar short haul flights with in California.
    This Government killed the B6/NK deal so they could possibly kill this deal also.

    1. Jaison
      Local leaders are strongly in support of this merger . The HA inter island 717’s have lower seat mile costs than SWA trying to make their transpac planes operate inter island and the HA branding is a strong one…they already have a much higher load factor and higher yield on the tickets sold. Alaska will be optimizing that…there’s a lot of pro SWA folks trying to undermine the merger for obvious reasons, if creates stronger inter island competition.

    1. This merger is essentially a buyout of a competitor. Keeping the name with some of the pilots and employees give them two brands to compete against the remaining companies but it’s no benefit for the public. Eventually they will drop the Hawaiian name (it will likely be required to keep it for x number of years) no different than the company I work at that buys companies all the time, keeps the names and people for a few years until they have what they need. Keeps the system running until they have determined the best plan to maximize profits. Aloha to higher interisland flight costs for sure.

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