Alaska Air Hopes To Buy Hawaiian Airlines


Alaska Air Group intends to buy Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 billion in cash. Alaska announced the deal on Sunday and said the two airlines are complementary in terms of route structure and culture. Hawaiian has the most flights to the Lower 48, but most are limited to airports along the West Coast. Its only flight to the east is to JFK. Alaska, on the other hand, links West Coast and Alaska cities to most major airports in the contiguous U.S. Where the two carriers diverge is in equipment. Alaska operates Boeing 737 family members only and uses Embraer E175s on its regional subsidiary Horizon. Hawaiian uses all Airbus A321neo and A330s on its long flights and Boeing 717s on inter-island flights. It has 12 Boeing 787-9s on order.

The deal still has to be approved by federal regulators and, according to the Seattle Times, they’ll be looking for labor support. Alaska faces the threat of a flight attendants’ strike this holiday season. “Our first priority is to determine whether this merger will improve conditions for flight attendants,” the Association of Flight Attendants union said. “Our support of the merger will depend on this.” Alaska said it would “maintain and grow union-represented jobs in Hawai‘i, including preserving pilot, flight attendant, and maintenance bases in Honolulu.” The Air Line Pilots Association represents Alaska’s 3,000 pilots but didn’t have an immediate comment.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. When Alaska bought Virgin America, they got a fleet of A321’s they didn’t want, and an east coast base they immediately closed, so the end result was that Alaska paid $2.6 billion for a few gates in California.

    Now, they’re wanting to spend $1.9 billion on another airline with a base several thousand miles away and a fleet of A321’s, so I’m a bit skeptical this is going to end well.

  2. Hawaiian does its heavy lifting with a fleet of A330s. Note that HA also has a contract with Amazon to operate some of their air cargo business using A330 freighters. They also have orders in for a number of B787s, delayed due to Covid and Boeing production snafus.