Alaska Airlines buys Hawaiian Airlines in $1.9 billion deal; Both brands should remain separate, say CEOs – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

UPDATE: 11:02 am

Alaska Airlines’ takeover of Hawaiian Airlines will not result in any union job losses and the “majority” of its 1,400 non-union employees will be retained to manage the expanded service, the companies’ top executives say.

The new company will retain and revamp the Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines brands, Peter Ingram, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, and Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines, said in an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser this morning, shortly after April 1 .9 billion dollar deal was announced.

Until the shareholder review and regulatory processes are completed, Hawaiian and Alaska “will remain competitors,” Ingram said.

“There is no change in the way we operate our business on the Hawaii side,” Ingram said. “We have no plans to restrict activities during this period.”

Alaska Airlines will not cut Hawaiian Airlines’ union workforce, Minicucci said.

“With this combination, no union jobs will be lost. Honolulu will be our second largest hub in the Alaska system after Seattle. We’re going to need a lot of non-union jobs,” said Minicucci, who added that exact headcount numbers won’t be available until the deal is finalized in 12 to 18 months. “In the future we will need a significant proportion of the people who already work here.”

Ingram said the commitment to preserving about 5,800 union jobs and trying to find space for the 1,400 non-union workers was “very important” to Hawaiian Airlines’ leadership team in negotiating the deal.

“We are very concerned about the potential impact on employment and one thing that gives us comfort going forward is that this creates a platform for long-term growth,” said Ingram, who stressed that “none of these decisions have been made. “still done.”

Minicucci said the combined company, which he will lead as CEO, “will keep the brands separate.”

“This is a big, unique decision. It just makes a lot of sense. Hawaiian has been in business for 94 years, they are admired and respected here…they have built a strong legacy…they have tremendous loyalty here,” he said. “We have a beloved brand in the Pacific Northwest and strong loyalty. So when we thought about the future merger, it can’t be one brand, but a dual brand strategy to ensure successful integration with employees, customers and communities. We really need the majority of people who are already employed at Hawaiian today.”

Existing miles from the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles frequent flyer loyalty programs will be honored both before and after the airlines merge, Hawaiian spokesman Alex da Silva said in an email to the Star-Advertiser. “Upon closing, the two airlines’ loyalty programs will be integrated into a common loyalty program,” da Silva said in an email.

Ingram said he believes maintaining the Hawaiian brand will “resonate” with employees.

“This is big news for the 7,300 people who work for Hawaiian Airlines and today will be a difficult day … there are a lot of emotions and people are worried about what the future will hold when the news breaks,” Ingram said. “I think the fact that the Hawaiian Airlines brand will definitely continue to exist really shows the respect that the Alaska team has for what our group has built over the last 94 years.”

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

Alaska Airlines will acquire Hawaiian Airlines in a $1.9 billion deal, the companies announced today.

Alaska Air Group, Inc. will pay $18 per share for Hawaiian Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaiian stock closed at $4.86 per share on Friday. The deal includes $900 million in Hawaiian debt, bringing the total value of the deal to $1.9 billion, according to airlines.

The transaction was approved by both boards, the companies said in a press release this morning. The acquisition requires regulatory approvals, Hawaiian Holdings shareholder approval, expected to be obtained in the first quarter of 2024, and other closing conditions. It is expected to be completed in 12 to 18 months, the companies said.

The combined organization will be based in Seattle and led by Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci.

“This combination is an exciting next step in our shared journey to provide a better travel experience for our guests and expand options for West Coast and Hawaii travelers,” Minicucci said in the release. “We have long had great respect for Hawaiian Airlines, its role as a top employer in Hawaii, and how its brand and employees spread the warm Aloha culture around the globe.”

Peter Ingram, President and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, said: “Hawaiian Airlines has been an integral part of Hawaiian life since 1929, and together with Alaska Airlines we will be able to provide our guests, employees and the communities we serve with more to offer.” .

“With Alaska Airlines, we are joining an airline that has long served Hawaii and has a complementary network and shared service culture. With the additional scale and resources this transaction with Alaska Airlines brings, we can accelerate investments in our guest experience and technology while maintaining the Hawaiian Airlines brand.”

The airlines said the merger will “expand service and convenience by tripling the number of destinations across North America that can be reached nonstop or with one stop from the islands, while maintaining robust neighbor island service.” and air freight capacity is increased.”

Airline officials said in the press release, “Honolulu will become a major hub for Alaska Airlines, enabling West Coast travelers greater international connectivity throughout Asia Pacific with one-stop service via Hawaii.”

Alaska Airlines executives said the airline and its regional partners fly to more than 120 destinations in the United States, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico, with new flights to the Bahamas and Guatemala beginning in December.

In operation for 95 years, Hawaiian Airlines is the state’s largest airline with approximately 150 daily interisland flights and nonstop flights between Hawaii and 15 U.S. gateway cities, as well as flights to American Samoa, Australia, the Cook Islands, Japan, New Zealand , South Korea and Tahiti.

The airlines said in the announcement that the merger would:

>> Expansion of the fifth-largest U.S. airline to a fleet of 365 narrow- and wide-body aircraft;

>> Make Honolulu a major hub for the combined airline by expanding service to Hawaii residents in the continental U.S. and creating new connections to Asia and the Pacific for travelers throughout the U.S.

>> Maintain a commitment to Hawaii, including “robust” neighbor island service;

>> Maintain and expand a union-represented workforce in Hawaii.

Staff writer Peter Boylan contributed to this report.


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