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The Justice Department was given an August deadline to merge Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines

Summary

  • The DOJ has until August 5, 2024 to decide on the Alaska-Hawaii merger.
  • Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines certified broad compliance, resulting in a 90-day waiting period.
  • The merger plans include Hawaiian Airlines joining Alaska Air Group and expanding the flight options it offers.

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has until August 5, 2024 to decide whether to oppose the merger between Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, according to an SEC filing made by both airlines on May 7, 2024.

The news follows the DOJ's completion of a “second request” to both airlines for documents and information related to their $1.9 billion merger agreement. This compliance initiated the 90-day waiting period for completion of the merger agreement. If the DOJ completes its investigation before the waiting period expires, the merger could potentially be approved sooner. In the SEC filing, Hawaiian Airlines said:

Hawaiian and Alaska confirmed broad compliance with the second request. Certification of Substantial Compliance triggers the start of the 90-day period described in the previous paragraph. This deadline ends on August 5, 2024.


Photo: Wenjie Zheng | Shutterstock

The DOJ began reviewing the Alaska-Hawaii merger in early February 2024. On February 7, 2024, the DOJ initially requested information and documents from Hawaiian and Alaska to review the deal. A “second request” for additional information was subsequently sent on March 27, 2024.


More details about the merger

At the end of December 2023, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines announced plans to merge. Under the plan, Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines, would acquire Hawaiian Airlines.

Under the agreement, Hawaiian Airlines will join Alaska Air Group following the merger. This will result in a combined fleet of 385 aircraft comprising three airlines: Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and Hawaiian Airlines. The new Alaska Air Group will offer an additional 2 million premium seats, including first class and business seats with extra legroom. In addition, Alaska Airlines is part of the oneWorld Alliance, Hawaiian Airlines also becomes a member of the alliance.


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In May 2024, shareholders approved the merger. However, it is still being evaluated by the Justice Department. Both airlines have reached a time agreement with the DOJ to provide the required information, a crucial step in the process.

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines aircraft at OGG Shutterstock_1103362796

Photo: EQRoy | Shutterstock

While airlines are hopeful, the outcome is not guaranteed. It is worth noting that the merger between Spirit Airlines and JetBlue was halted due to anti-competitive concerns and was finally abandoned in early 2024.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ), which opposed the merger, concluded that a merger of the two airlines would have had a negative impact on US consumers. Attorney General Merrick Garland hailed the decision as a victory for millions of travelers, claiming it would have led to higher ticket prices and fewer options if the merger had been allowed.


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What do you think about the merger of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Anna Harden

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