The Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested additional information and documentary material from Alaska Airlines (AS, Seattle Tacoma International) and Hawaiian Airlines (HA, Honolulu) given their December 2023 plans to merge.

On February 7, 2024, both companies confirmed they received the DOJ’s request, adding they would promptly respond and continue working cooperatively with the department as it conducts its review of their proposed tie-up.

Last year, Alaska Air Group agreed to acquire Hawaiian Airlines from Hawaiian Holdings for approximately USD1.9 billion. This amount includes assuming USD900 million of the Honolulu-based carrier’s net debt.

Under the terms disclosed of the merger, both companies will continue to operate under their own brands. It would see them having a combined fleet of 349 aircraft according to the ch-aviation fleets module: eighteen A321-200Ns, twenty-four A330-200s, one A330-300(P2F), and nineteen B717-200s flying for Hawaiian Airlines, fifteen A320-200s, eleven B737-700s, three B737-700(BDSF)s, one B737-8, fifty-nine B737-800s, one B737-800(BCF), sixty-five B737-9s, twelve B737-900s, and seventy-nine B737-900ERs flying for Alaska Airlines, and forty-one E175s flying for Alaska’s subsidiary, Horizon Air (QX, Seattle Tacoma International).

Faced with the possibility that the merger is blocked, as with the recent JetBlue Airways/Spirit Airlines ruling, Ben Minicucci, Alaska Air Group’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President, said during the group’s 2023 fourth quarter investors call that their deal is completely different and that the jetBlue/Spirit merger was blocked because it would limit low-cost competition.

“In our case, these are two very similar business models. The networks are very, very complementary. In fact, when you combine the networks, there are only 12 overlap routes through the combination. So it is very pro-consumer and very pro-competitive,” he added.

Meanwhile, Peter Ingram, President and CEO for both Hawaiian Airlines and Hawaiian Holdings, said in the company’s 2023 final quarter investors call that they are confident they can compete on their own, “but the acquisition by Alaska is an even better outcome for consumers, employees, and the communities of our home state.” However, the company remains open to buyout offers even if Alaska’s takeover fails to proceed.