Alaska Air Group is acquiring Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 billion, including assumed debt. The transaction is subject to regulatory clearance and a Hawaiian Airlines shareholder vote, expected in Q1 2024. If the transaction proceeds, the merged company serves more unique destinations from Hawaii than any other airline, ahead of United, Delta, Southwest, and American Airlines, and would give Alaska about 51% of seat share from Hawaii. It will also give Alaska Airlines its very first flat bed business class seats, via Hawaiian Airlines Business Class flat bed seats, and suites with closing doors, via Hawaiian Airlines 787-9 Business Class Leihoku Suites, which launch in April 2024.
Other key points:
- Less than 3% in route overlap
- Adds ~2 million premium seats
- Hawaiian Airlines would retain its own branding
- Unified booking, operational and loyalty systems
- Honolulu would become an Alaska Air Group hub, with HNL pilot, flight attendant and maintenance bases preserved
Hawaiian Airlines has been struggling post-pandemic, so this consolidation makes sense. But assuming it goes through, it's likely to be worse for consumers, not only in terms of less competitive pricing, but also the product. Alaska Airlines doesn't have a true transcontinental business class product, as it has no flat bed seats, and I've actively avoided flying it because Alaska's recliner business class seats are so uncomfortable. It doesn't inspire confidence in providing a competitive business class product. It also remains to be seen whether flight attendants and other employees will support the merger.
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