These Two Airlines Just Joined Forces To Bring You More Destinations

After six months of negotiation, it's official: Alaska Airlines is buying Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 billion. Once the deal is complete in 12 to 18 months, passengers will have access to more destinations than ever, thanks to shared routes and a combined loyalty program. If you're a fan of either airline — or both individually — not to worry. Each brand will retain its own identity while the pair operates from a single platform.

As the fifth largest airline in America, Alaska Airlines pilots 1,200 flights per day to 120-plus destinations throughout the U.S., Mexico, Central America, and Canada. With this latest venture, the airline will increase its service and offer flights to 138 destinations in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and islands in the South Pacific. On top of that, passengers of both airlines will have access to 1,200 global destinations and expanded lounge access through oneworld Alliance. The list of partnering airlines includes American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, Sri Lankan Airlines, Fiji Airways, and Oman Air. In other words, the world is your oyster.

Expanded operations for both airlines

Though Alaska and Hawaii may seem like an unlikely pair, the airlines have more in common than you might think. Though worlds apart, climate-wise, the states they represent have cultural similarities, say Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines, and Peter Ingram, CEO of Hawaiian Airlines in a video statement. As the 49th and 50th states off the mainland, the local communities depend on air travel in a similar way, keeping families and businesses well-connected even in hard-to-reach places. This parallel heritage will be woven into the acquisition. Alaska promises to keep the robust network of inter-island flights alive and, in turn, passengers with Hawaiian will have access to triple the amount of nonstop destinations in North America.

Between the two airlines, only 12 of 1,400 flights overlap, making the acquisition both pro-consumer and pro-competitor, said Minicucci at a press conference. The strategic partnership will allow the dual-brand to better compete with the top four airlines — American, Delta, Southwest, and United — that hold 80% of the market share. Unlike other airline mergers, passengers won't necessarily have to worry about price increases, service cancellations, or reduced amenities. Instead, the deal means a wider flight network, more cargo service, and 365 aircraft in the combined fleet.

Vision for the future

As part of the deal, Alaska Airlines will inherit Hawaiian's $900 million debt. In recent years, Hawaiian has had a difficult time rebounding flights to Asia in the post-pandemic market. The airline has also faced increased competition in Hawaii from Southwest Airlines and reduced tourism since the devastating fire that leveled Lahaina in August 2023. All factors combined, Hawaiian was on track to lose $300 million this year.

Naturally, the news of the merger has confused and upset some citizens, as Hawaiian Airlines has been serving the islands for 95 years. It's considered a part of the fabric of the community. As a result, Hawaiian politicians like Congressman Ed Case have promised the public that they will watch the deal closely to ensure locals and 8,500 union workers will be cared for as promised, reports Hawaii News Now. In the coming months, Alaska plans to have ongoing community conversations to ensure Alaska preserves Hawaii's culture and, of course, delivers the spirit of Aloha to the world.