Alaska’s fleet chief breaks down the strategy behind Hawaiian deal

A new path to growth, but still many outstanding questions for the aspiring Pacific air carrier.

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Release Date
December 4, 2023
Alaska's fleet chief breaks down the strategy behind Hawaiian deal
In the first hours after the announcement of a merger between two large companies, especially those as complex as airlines, the number of questions from stakeholders, shareholders and interested parties is inversely proportional to the available answers. Nowhere is this more true than with the $1.9 billion union of Alaska Air Group and Hawaiian Airlines.

The Sunday morning news from both companies remained amazingly unleaked prior to the official unveiling, a rarity in the world of business. In a Monday interview with The Air Current, Alaska’s executive vice president Nat Pieper explained the strategic rationale for the acquisition of Hawaiian Airlines, the ninth largest U.S. airline by capacity and explored the questions that won’t have answers for quite some time.

Related: Alaska Airlines, finally all-Boeing, ventures beyond the recovery

The deal is the culmination of “company senior levels, trying to think about the next five to 10 to 20 years and the platform,” said Pieper, who heads up the carrier’s fleet planning, finance and alliances, and serves as treasurer. “Alaska has changed even in the last three to four years: joining Oneworld, going to single fleet, fully digesting Virgin [America]. And so not an uneasiness about what’s next, but more of we’ve got a really good balance sheet, our house is in order. How can we possibly find opportunities to take this to the next level?”

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