Alaska Airlines is planning to buy Hawaiian Airlines in a $1.9 billion deal.
The merger will allow Alaska Airlines to expand its West Coast network and acquire more pilots and planes.
"The combined company will unlock more destinations for consumers and expand choice of critical air service options and access throughout the Pacific region, Continental United States and globally," parent company Alaska Air Group said in a press release. "The transaction is expected to enable a stronger platform for growth and competition in the U.S., as well as long-term job opportunities for employees, continued investment in local communities and environmental stewardship."
In an unusual move, the Seattle-based company said it plans to keep Hawaiian Airlines as an independent brand, instead of folding it into the Alaska Airlines name.
Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci will remain at the helm.
"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 Hawaii travelers," Minicucci said in a press release. "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."
Hawaiian Airlines has been struggling to recover since the COVID-19 pandemic. Its president and CEO Peter Ingram spoke out on the announcement.
"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," Ingram said in a press release. "In Alaska Airlines, we are joining an airline that has long served Hawaii, and has a complementary network and a shared culture of service.
Alaska Airlines plans to seek approval from Hawaiian Airlines shareholders in the first quarter of 2024.
The deal still could face scrutiny by federal regulators over competition.
Alaska Airlines is the fifth-largest airline in the U.S. by passengers carried.
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