Alaska Airlines cannot close its acquisition of rival US carrier Hawaiian Airlines until 5 August under an agreement with the US Department of Justice. 

During a 90-day waiting period that began on 7 May and will end on 5 August, the West Coast carriers cannot complete their proposed $1.9 billion deal “unless they have received written notice… that the DOJ has closed its investigation”, according to a filing with the US Securities Exchange Commission. 

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Source: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are in a holding pattern as they await the conclusion of the US Department of Justice’s investigation into their proposed tie-up 

The carriers previously disclosed that they would enter such a timing agreement after submitting to the DOJ information the agency had requested, a process that is now complete. 

The carriers received DOJ requests for further information about the deal in early February. 

On 3 December, the airlines revealed that they had signed a deal under which Alaska would acquire Hawaiian for $1 billion and assume $900 million of Hawaiian’s debt.

Alaska maintains that the Hawaiian brand will continue to exist following the deal’s completion. 

Hawaiian Holdings’ shareholders voted on 16 February to accept Alaska’s $1.9 billion acquisition offer. The companies previously said they expect to close the deal in 12-18 months, pending regulatory approval. So far, the DOJ has not taken action to block the proposal. 

However, a group of US consumers have filed a lawsuit to block the deal on anti-competitive grounds, arguing that it would give Alaska too large a share of the Hawaii-to-mainland USA market. 

”The company believes the allegations in the complaint are without merit and will defend against them vigorously, while continuing to work cooperatively with the US Department of Justice to obtain regulatory clearance to close the acquisition,” Alaska says.