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Alaska Airlines And Hawaiian Airlines To Merge By 2025

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Tom Goward | 04/12/2023

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Alaska Airlines is set to purchase Hawaiian Airlines in a US$1.9 billion (AU$2.86 billion) deal, which could also see Hawaiian become part of the Oneworld alliance. The deal comes less than eight years after Alaska Airlines bought out Virgin America, to become the fifth-largest US airline.

According to Alaska Airlines, both carriers will retain separate branding but combine resources into a single operating platform for efficiency. Honolulu will become a key hub for Alaska Airlines, with boosted services to Hawaii.

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said the merger would improve the travel experience for customers, whilst expanding options for West Coast and Hawaiiian travellers.

“We have a longstanding and deep respect for Hawaiian Airlines, for their role as a top employer in Hawaii, and for how their brand and people carry the warm culture of aloha around the globe.”

“We look forward to deepening this stewardship as our airlines come together, while providing unmatched value to customers, employees, communities and owners,” said Mr Minicucci.

Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 787 Business Class

“Since 1929, Hawaiian Airlines has been an integral part of life in Hawaii, and together with Alaska Airlines we will be able to deliver more for our guests, employees and the communities that we serve,” added Peter Ingram, CEO of Hawaiian Airlines.

The Aloha flag carrier has been struggling since the pandemic, with another loss expected this year. The Hawaiian buyout will include covering US$900m (AU$1.37 billion) of the carrier’s current debt.

While the deal is yet to be approved by US regulators, both airlines’ boards have already endorsed the merger. Shareholders of Hawaiian Airlines are expected to welcome the consolidation, with a substantial premium offered on shares.

The complementary networks of both airlines carry almost 55 million passengers each year, with service to 138 destinations including non-stop flights to 29 international markets in the Americas, Asia and South Pacific. The consolidated airline would have access to 365 aircraft and over 33,000 employees.

Alaska Hawiian Network

Hawaiian and Alaska – Stronger Together

In today’s media release, Alaska Airlines mentioned that the merger made sense for the complementary networks of the two airlines. Once complete, the combined carrier expects to provide greater choice for passengers, through a number of initiatives;

  • Preserving the unique brands of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines as they form a combined airline. The single platform is expected to improve operational efficiency, enabling the remarkable service and hospitality of each carrier to be enjoyed by passengers.
  • Enhancing the product offering for a wide range of travellers by expanding on Alaska’s “high-quality, best-in-class” product offerings with fares to make air travel accessible to a range of consumers.
  • Utilising complementary networks to expand options for passengers travelling throughout the United States and across the Pacific. Travellers will benefit from enhanced choice and increased connectivity across both airlines’ networks.
  • Boosting flights to Hawaii to triple the number of North American destinations that can be reached via nonstop or one-stop flights from the Islands. Hawaiian will maintain its robust Neighbor Island service, and increase its cargo capacity.
  • Forming a strategic Honolulu hub for Alaska Airlines, enabling greater international connectivity throughout the Asia-Pacific region, with one-stop services via Hawaii.
    Improving frequent flyer loyalty benefits by connecting Hawaiian Airlines’ loyalty members with enhanced benefits through a loyalty scheme for the combined airline.

Will Hawaiian Airlines Join Oneworld?

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have confirmed plans to eventually share a single frequent flyer program. Alaska mentions that HawiianMiles members will notice improved benefits through a combined loyalty program.

This will include the ability to earn and redeem miles on 29 global partners, and receive elite benefits on the “full complement of oneworld Alliance airlines”. In addition, members can earn miles through the combined program’s co-brand credit card.

Alaska Airlines won’t get into the specifics of their “combined loyalty program”, but Flight Hacks expects HawaiianMiles members will transfer across to Alaska’s Mileage Plan loyalty network.

Alaska Mileage Plan Credit Card

Will Hawaiian Airlines Dump Virgin Australia For Qantas?

Of course, access to the oneworld network means it will soon become possible to book Hawaiian Airlines flights using Qantas Points. But becoming part of the oneworld alliance doesn’t mean Virgin Australia and its Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme is automatically dropped as a partner. After all, Qatar Airways is a major player in the oneworld network, whilst also remaining a partner of Virgin Australia.

Once Hawaiian’s oneworld tie-up is processed, we will know more about the fate of Virgin Australia’s partnership.

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Tom Goward

Chief Operating Officer & Aviation Nerd at Flight Hacks

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