“The same dynamics are not at play,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research. “I don’t think anyone is going to look at this merger and say, ‘Oh, we’re going to lose a low-cost airline.'”
While Alaska has bounced back from the pandemic relatively quickly, Hawaiian has struggled to return to profitability. Initially, the state’s strict restrictions on people entering the country due to the coronavirus pandemic discouraged travelers. After these restrictions were lifted, demand began to recover, but Americans quickly shifted their focus to international travel. More recently, the company has faced challenges such as delays in the delivery of new aircraft and wildfires on Maui that led to a decline in passenger numbers this summer.
The sale will also diversify Alaska Airlines’ aircraft fleet, which operates only two types of aircraft: the Boeing 737 and the Embraer 175. After acquiring Virgin America, Alaska Airlines took over some of its Airbus fleet, but phased it out over several years. Hawaiian Airlines operates both Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and it will likely take years before the state of Alaska decides how and whether to rebalance its fleet. Deaf Minicucci said.
“They have the right airplanes to fly in today’s market,” he said.
Unions representing thousands of workers at both Alaska and Hawaii, including pilots, flight attendants, office workers, airport staff and other employees, have refrained from supporting or opposing the deal, saying workers should It said it would work closely with airlines to ensure they benefit. sale.
The Flight Attendants Association, which represents 9,000 Alaska and Hawaii employees and thousands of other Alaska and Hawaii employees, said, “Our top priority is that this merger will improve the treatment of our flight attendants.” It is up to us to decide whether or not to do so.” Several other airlines also said in statements. “Whether we can support the merger depends on this.”
The airline said it expects to put the deal to a vote by Hawaii investors during the first three months of next year. If approved, the transaction is expected to take 12 to 18 months to close. Alaska will maintain its headquarters in Seattle and will continue to be led by Minicucci, who became chief executive officer in March 2021.