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A Group of Private Citizens Are Suing to Block Alaska Airlines $1.9 Billion Takeover of Hawaiian Airlines

A Group of Private Citizens Are Suing to Block Alaska Airlines $1.9 Billion Takeover of Hawaiian Airlines

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A group of eight private citizens have come together in an attempt to block the attempted takeover of Hawaiian Airlines by Alaska Airlines, arguing that the merger will threaten harm to passengers, as well as lead to the death of Hawaiian’s ‘famous Aloha spirit’, and the loss of Hawaii-based jobs.

The lawsuit, which was filed in a Hawaii district court last week, will attempt to use the Clayton Antitrust Act to block the proposed merger – the same law that was successfully used by the US Department of Justice to stop JetBlue’s takeover of Spirit Airlines in a landmark ruling in January.

Alaska Airlines announced its intention to acquire Hawaiian Airlines late last year before JetBlue was forced to abandon its takeover of Spirit. As part of the proposed deal, Alaska is seeking to merge the two carriers into a single entity but with separate brands.

The combined airline company will operate 365 aircraft, serve 138 destinations and employ 31,200 workers, although the plaintiffs in the Clayton Antitrust suit fear the deal will harm passengers and Hawaii.

The case is being brought by a group of airline passengers and former travel agents who claim in their 52-page complaint that airline consolidation over the last few decades has resulted in airfare price rises and the introduction of anti-consumer fees.

They say that Hawaiian Airlines, as its own company, is an “important bulwark to stop this almost unstoppable trend toward complete concentration and monopoly in the airline industry.”

Alaska Airlines has promised to maintain Hawaiian’s unique and much-loved identity, but the lawsuit points to the carrier’s history with Virgin America, which it acquired in 2017 to consolidate its presence in Southern California.

Virgin America was also a unique and well-liked brand, but Alaska Airlines assimilated Virgin America’s route network and then retired the brand.

“Travelers to and from Hawaiʻi benefit from Hawaiian’s competition against Alaska, particularly on the 12 distinct direct overlapping routes. Alaska’s acquisition of Hawaiian could hurt these travelers in numerous ways,” the lawsuit argues.

“It could eliminate vigorous head-to-head competition between Hawaiian and Alaska that travelers rely on every day. The airline industry as a whole could lose a major competitor offering distinct services, and see Alaska become the dominant seat capacity from and between Hawaiʻi and the U.S. mainland,” the suit continues.

The lawsuit remains in its early stages, but the plaintiffs want the court to enjoin Alaska Airlines from “consummating the acquisition of Hawaiian Airlines”.

The case is being pursued in the District Court for Hawaii under case number: 1:24-cv-00173.

View Comments (4)
  • These people are obtuse. Hawaiian is in violation of it s loan covenants within 6 months and Bankruptcy filing within 12 months. Block the merger and Hawaiian liquidates. People have very low ability to understand reality.

  • The “people” that aim to block the merger must think that Hawaiian Airlines is on stable financial footing which is obviously not true. They seem to not understand that airline mergers have been taking place since the beginning of airline service over 100 years ago. These people don’t really know what is going on and don’t realize that there may not be a Hawaiian Airlines without a merger, buy out etc…

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