HONOLULU — Despite its planned acquisition by Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines is open to other merger offers, the airline said in a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

Alaska Air Group, Inc. and Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. announced in a joint press release on Dec. 4 that Alaska Airlines would acquire Hawaiian Airlines for about $1.9 billion. Since then, there have been many questions about how the merger of the airlines would work. Spectrum News Hawaii looked at two recent filings with the SEC to find answers to some of these questions. 

Would Hawaiian Airlines accept a merger offer from another airline? 

In the Q&A submitted to the SEC on Monday, the airline said they “may consider unsolicited offers for Hawaiian Airlines” but said it was “focused on the agreement” with Alaska. 

Hawaiian Airlines also said both airlines are “continuing to invest in our independent business, which will set us up for a strong future under any scenario.”

Will Hawaiian Airlines employees keep their jobs? 

CEO Peter Ingram noted in the SEC filing submitted Wednesday that there have been many questions about whether Hawaiian Airlines employees would keep their jobs. 

According to Ingram, Alaska provided “a clear commitment to maintain and grow union-represented jobs in Hawaii.” Alaska will also preserve pilot, flight attendant and maintenance bases in Honolulu and airport operations and cargo throughout the state, according to the Hawaiian Airlines filing. Ingram said “established protocols under our Collective Bargaining Agreements” would resolve questions about specific jobs and seniority. 

However, Ingram acknowledged there is no similar commitment from Alaska Airlines for non-union employees, raising “uncertainty.” 

“What we do know is that there will be a need for many of your roles on an ongoing basis because of the size of the combined company’s operational presence in Hawaii, as well as maintenance of a separate brand,” said Ingram.

The acquisition is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete and still requires approval from Hawaiian shareholders and U.S. regulators. Ingram said nothing would change regarding employment until after the acquisition was completed. 

“You have my commitment to get you as much certainty about your role as possible, as quickly as possible, and to provide information about retention incentives to stay through the transition,” said Ingram. 

Hawaiian Airlines said in the Q&A that the combined company would have a regional headquarters in Honolulu and that they expect to know more about the company’s new organizational structure in early 2024. 

Will Hawaiian Airlines’ leadership change?

In the Q&A, Hawaiian said the combined organization will be headquartered in Seattle, where Alaska Airlines is based, and will be led by Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci. 

As for executive leadership, Hawaiian Airlines said no final decisions have been made but that there would not be roles for all of them. 

How will the Hawaiian Airlines brand be maintained?

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines said on Dec. 4 that they would maintain their individual brands while integrating into a single operating platform. Ingram said how this will be achieved is what he has “received the most questions about.” 

“We will need to help the Alaska team understand what our brand is, beyond Pualani and the livery, particularly: how our culture and values define our brand, how our people give it life, and how we draw from our connection to this place,” said Ingram.

However, he did not provide specifics about in-flight services or uniforms. 

How long has the merger deal been in the works? 

Hawaiian Airlines said in the filing that Alaska first approached the company a “few months ago.” They did not provide a specific date. Hawaiian said they would provide more information about the deal when filing a proxy statement with the SEC for an upcoming meeting with Hawaiian Airlines shareholders who will be voting on whether to approve the deal. 

What will happen to HawaiianMiles already earned? 

Hawaiian said existing miles will be honored after the merger, and the two airlines’ loyalty programs will be combined. 

People who qualify for Pualani Elite status will see this carried over into the combined airline. However, the name may be changed. 

Michelle Broder Van Dyke covers the Hawaiian Islands for Spectrum News Hawaii. Email her at michelle.brodervandyke@charter.com.