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Alaska Airlines to Acquire Hawaiian

The combined company will maintain two separate brands but have an integrated network, forming the fifth-largest U.S. airline.

Hawaiian and Alaska aircraft (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi, Katie Bailey)

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have announced a $1.9 billion deal that will see Alaska acquire Hawaiian. The transaction will see the two airlines combine into a single company, strengthening Alaska’s position as the fifth-largest airline in the United States.

Details of the Proposed Transaction

The transaction would see Alaska Air Group acquire Hawaiian Holdings for $18.00 per share in cash – a generous premium for Hawaiian shareholders who saw the company’s stock close at $4.86 per share on Friday. Inclusive of Hawaiian’s net debt of $0.9 billion, the total value of the transaction will be approximately $1.9 billion.

In a press release announcing the acquisition, the companies stated that the deal is expected to create approximately $235 million of synergies without having a long-term impact on balance sheet metrics or leverage levels. The transaction is expected to close within 12-14 months. Although the deal has received the green light from both boards, it is conditional on approval from regulators and Hawaiian shareholders.

“We are also pleased to deliver significant, immediate and compelling value to our shareholders through this all-cash transaction,” Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram, states in the press release. “Together, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines can bring our authentic brands of hospitality to more of the world while continuing to serve our valued local communities.”

Combining Complementary Networks

Serving the 49th and 50th states, the two airlines largely serve distinct markets. Alaska has a strong network throughout the U.S. West Coast, with additional routes to the eastern part of the country and to warmer southern destinations throughout Central America.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900(ER) and B737-800 aircraft at LAX (Photo: AirlineGeeks | James Dinsdale)

Meanwhile, Hawaiian focuses on intra-island flights and transpacific flights connecting the Hawaiian islands to the continental U.S. Unlike Alaska, the carrier also has a long-haul fleet, flying from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, Asia and Oceania.

As shown in a combined route map that accompanied Sunday’s announcement, the two airlines have largely complementary networks. The main overlapping area of competition is routes connecting the U.S. West Coast to Hawaii. Once the transaction is completed, the combined company is expected to serve over 130 destinations.

The combined airline is expected to serve 138 destinations, including 29 international markets (Photo: Alaska Airlines)

The merged entity will maintain Alaska’s oneworld membership, giving Hawaiian customers access to the alliance’s global network. Alaska customers will benefit from greater connectivity between the U.S. West Coast and the Asia-Pacific region through Hawaiian’s Honolulu hub.

One Company, Two Brands

Although the two airlines are combining to form one company, both airline brands will be maintained. Alaska and Hawaiian each have distinct brands with loyal customer bases, and it is evident that the companies recognize the strength of their existing brands.

With a fleet of 365 aircraft, the combined company will have a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing jets. Having recently returned to an all-Boeing fleet with the retirement of the remaining Virgin America aircraft, the Alaska Air Group will soon see the reintroduction of Airbus aircraft into its portfolio.

Alaska’s fleet currently consists exclusively of Boeing 737s – although its regional partners operate Embraer 175s under the company’s brand – while Hawaiian operates Boeing 717-200s, Airbus A321neos, and Airbus A330s. Hawaiian will also begin to receive Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in the coming months.

Hawaiian Airlines aircraft in Honolulu (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ian McMurtry)

“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 in a press release. “Our two airlines are powered by incredible employees, with 90+ year legacies and values grounded in caring for the special places and people that we serve. This is an exciting next step in our journey to elevate the travel experience and expand options for guests.”

Andrew Chen


  • Andrew Chen

    Andrew is a lifelong lover of aviation and travel. He has flown all over the world and is fascinated by the workings of the air travel industry. As a private pilot and glider pilot who has worked with airlines, airports and other industry stakeholders, he is always excited to share his passion for aviation with others. In addition to being a writer, he also hosts Flying Smarter, an educational travel podcast that explores the complex world of air travel to help listeners become better-informed and savvier travelers.

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