Alaska Air Group has agreed to acquire Hawaiian Airlines (HA, Honolulu) from Hawaiian Holdings for approximately USD1.9 billion, including assuming USD900 million of the Honolulu-based carrier's net debt. Alaska Airlines (AS, Seattle Tacoma International) and Hawaiian Airlines will continue to operate under their own brands.

The transaction has already been approved by both carriers' boards but has yet to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals. Hawaiian Holdings will seek the nod from its shareholders in the first quarter of 2024. The closing of the deal is expected to take 12 to 18 months. On completion, the combined firm will be based in Seattle, with Ben Minicucci, the current chief executive of Alaska Air Group, continuing in his role.

With the merger, Honolulu will become Alaska Airlines' seventh base, following Seattle Tacoma International, Anchorage Ted Stevens, Los Angeles International, Portland International, San Diego International, and San Francisco. The carrier currently operates 195 weekly flights on 24 routes to Hawai'i, serving Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, and Lihue in the state. With the acquisition, it will, for the first time, expand its network to include transpacific international services to destinations in Asia, Australia, and the Pacific.

In turn, while Hawaiian Airlines serves a growing mainland US network, it does not currently operate any international flights in the Americas - in contrast to Alaska Airlines, which serves Canada, Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica, the ch-aviation capacities module shows. It will shortly add services to Guatemala and the Bahamas.

The airlines pledged to retain a "robust" inter-island network in Hawai'i and increase the size of the union-represented workforce in the state.

The combined airlines would currently have a fleet of 331 aircraft: eleven B737-700s, three B737-700(BDSF)s, fifty-nine B737-800s, one B737-800(BCF), sixty-three B737-9s, twelve B737-900s, and seventy-nine B737-900ERs operated by Alaska Airlines and forty-one E175s operated by Horizon Air (QX, Seattle Tacoma International), and eighteen A321-200Ns, twenty-four A330-200s, one A330-300(P2F), and nineteen B717-200s operated by Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines intends to add nine more converted A330-300s for operations and has a firm order for twelve B787-9s from Boeing (BOE, Washington National). Alaska Air Group, meanwhile, has outstanding orders for ten B737-8s, twenty-five B737-9s, and ten B737-10s, as well as nine more E175s for Horizon Air. The carrier also charters another forty-two of the latter type from SkyWest Airlines (OO, St. George Municipal), the ch-aviation fleets module shows.