Now Reading
Alaska Airlines Seeks to Dismiss Lawsuit Brought By ‘Serial Litigants’ Aimed at Blocking Takeover of Hawaiian Airlines

Alaska Airlines Seeks to Dismiss Lawsuit Brought By ‘Serial Litigants’ Aimed at Blocking Takeover of Hawaiian Airlines

Invalid request error occurred.

Alaska Airlines has asked a US District Court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a group of private citizens who are attempting to block the Seattle-based carrier’s $1.9 billion takeover of Hawaiian Airlines.

In its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, attorneys acting on behalf of Alaska Airlines claim the lawsuit is being brought by a group of ‘serial litigants’ who have no connection to Alaska or Hawaiian Airlines but who have a history of filing similar unsuccessful lawsuits against airline mergers.

The lawsuit, which was filed in a Hawaii district court last month, is attempting 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.

Describing themselves as airline passengers and former travel agents, the eight named litigants in the lawsuit argue in a 52-page complaint that the merger will eliminate competition for flights to and from Hawaii and lead to higher airfares for cash-strapped consumers.

Alaska Airlines says it intends to keep Hawaiian Airlines as a separate brand under a combined umbrella company, but in the complaint against the merger, the litigants say they fear the merger will kill Hawaiian’s ‘Aloha spirit’.

“Far from squelching Hawaiian’s Aloha spirit, this merger will make sure that it endures,” Alaska said in its motion to dismiss on Friday. “Alaska recognizes how much Hawaiian means to the people of Hawai‘i”.

“Not only has Alaska promised to maintain the Hawaiian brand, it also committed to investing in and creating new opportunities for Hawaiian’s workforce while continuing Hawaiian’s legacy of service to the local community,” the motion continues.

Rather than eliminating competition, Alaska argues that the merger will be a win for consumers, competition and Hawaii, leading to increased competition and potentially lower airfares.

The motion claims most of the named plaintiffs are “serial litigants who have challenged nearly every airline merger in recent history, albeit without success”.

“Recycling the same boilerplate allegations they have directed at other airline mergers, Plaintiffs allege that this merger violates Section 7 of the Clayton Act”.

Alaska Airlines first announced its intention to take over Hawaiian Airlines in December 2023, creating a combined airline company with 365 aircraft, 138 destinations and 31,200 workers, albeit operated under separate brands.

The merger has, however, proven controversial as memories of Alaksa’s takeover of the now-defunct Virgin America brand linger. In that takeover, Alaska said it intended to keep the Virgin American brand alive but changed its mind just two years later.

The Virgin American brand disappeared for good in 2019, although that doesn’t mean Alaska Airlines no longer has to pay to use the rights to the Virgin brand. Last year, the airline lost a lawsuit brought by the Virgin Group in which London’s High Court ruled that Alaska must continue paying $8 million per year in royalty payments for the next 15 years.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2023 All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.