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Alaska Airlines to acquire Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 billion


Alaska Airlines announced Sunday it will acquire Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 billion, expanding the fifth-largest airline in the U.S., putting it on track for a potential clash with the Biden administration.

The company said it would keep the Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines brands “while integrating into a single operating platform” to offer passengers access to more flights and destinations across the Americas, Asia, Australia, and the South Pacific.

“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,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines CEO, in the announcement on Sunday.

Hawaii residents can expect to see triple the number of destinations they can reach from the islands with nonstop or flights with one connection, the release said. The robust air service between the Hawaiian islands will be maintained.

‘Shared culture of service’

Honolulu is slated to become a key Alaska Airlines hub to increase connectivity between the West Coast and the Asia-Pacific region.

“In Alaska Airlines, we are joining an airline that has long served Hawaii, and has a complementary network and a shared culture of service,” said Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO, in a statement. “With the additional scale and resources that this transaction with Alaska Airlines brings, we will be able to accelerate investments in our guest experience and technology, while maintaining the Hawaiian Airlines brand.”

Passengers can expect to see their loyalty program benefits combined, the release added.

The acquisition has been approved by both boards and is expected to close in 12 to 18 months.

Last year, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to block JetBlue from merging with Spirit Airlines, alleging that the merger would “limit choices and drive up ticket prices for passengers across the country,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a news conference in March.

The average domestic airline fare out of Seattle during the spring was $409.93. That was up from $293.08 two years earlier, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The average domestic airline fare out of Honolulu during the spring was $367.94, up from $329.93 two years earlier.

The two companies have been serving the 49th and 50th states for over 90 years, respectively. Together, they have over 54.7 million annual passengers.

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Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at kwong@usatoday.com.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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