We know that everyone has questions and concerns about the proposed merger of Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines. Mergers take time. Nothing will happen overnight. Right now we must stick together because the airlines are very clear about how this will benefit shareholders, consumers, and employees but together we can claim clarity in black and white for our jobs and the improvements we can expect.
Our union of Flight Attendants, AFA-CWA, represents cabin crew at both carriers. Our first priority is to determine whether we support this merger, depending upon what it means in improvements for Flight Attendants. We are gathering information, reviewing the proposed merger, and AFA leaders from both Hawaiian and Alaska will meet with our International Officers and experts to conduct this review. Our union has significant experience in mergers and all of that will benefit us now.
Resources & Information
AFA Merger FAQs
If the merger moves forward...
The Department of Justice (DOJ) must approve the merger and determine that it does not violate any antitrust laws or regulations. Only after the DOJ gives its approval to the transaction, can the actual conclusion of the financial transaction (corporate merger) happen. There is no set timeline for the DOJ review and approval.
What is the Timeline for a Corporate Merger?
When would the operations of the two carriers be merged?
It will be a while, at a minimum 12-18 months. This is a journey of a thousand steps. Throughout it all, your AFA leadership will be representing your best interests and negotiating for the best outcome for Flight Attendants.
What exactly is “integration” and when would it happen?
It is important to understand that “integration” applies to many steps along way to completely combining the two carriers:
Integration of corporate management and departments (Labor Relations, Legal, Finance, etc) is one aspect of integration and could possibly happen quickly after DOJ approval and the financial close of the corporate merger.
Operational Integration of policies, maintenance procedures and manuals, etc. leading up to a Single Operating Certificate takes over a year and longer.
Seniority list integration – we will conduct our bidding “date of hire” seniority integration process with Flight Attendant representatives from each airline, but management will not receive the completed list until a merged contract is ratified.
Contract Integration – negotiating the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) and finalizing a process agreement which allows for a smooth and orderly combining of the two labor groups (eg. Alaska Flight Attendants and Hawaiian Flight Attendants) requires Flight Attendant ratification – and this step can only take shape alongside the operational integration.
Operational Integration, including combined reservations and scheduling. Again, this will take time, likely a couple years if the merger moves forward.
What bases would open and close at the combined carrier?
The airlines have stated all bases will remain open and contractual protections will protect base assignments.
How would the seniority lists be combined?
A Seniority Merger Integration Committee (SMIC) with Flight Attendant representatives from both carriers will be established and representatives may only be chosen by Flight Attendants from each respective pre-merger airline. The SMIC will review the records of every Flight Attendant and ensure no one leap frogs another Flight Attendant on each respective list, while also assessing whether adjustments of bidding seniority dates should reflect time in training consistently for both groups. This process is transparent and includes a verification period with the opportunity for each individual Flight Attendant to review their seniority date before the list is final.
What is the AFA merger policy that will govern how the Flight Attendant groups are intergrated?
The AFA Merger Policy can be found in the AFA International Constitution and Bylaws, Section X. AFA has vast experience with mergers and negotiating agreements that protect our members and keep Flight Attendant interests front and center.
How would the merged contract be negotiated?
Under the AFA Constitution & Bylaws, a Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) will be formed following Single Carrier Determination by the NMB. Flight Attendants from both airlines will be members of the JNC, and JNC may only be chosen by Flight Attendants from their respective pre-merger airlines. The JNC will negotiate a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) attempting to combine the best from each Flight Attendant Contract in addition to other improvements. The tentative JCBA will be voted on by all Flight Attendants at the merged airline and must receive a majority vote in favor by the combined group for ratification.
When would the Flight Attendant Groups be combined?
The Flight Attendant groups cannot be combined until the JCBA is ratified and the seniority list is merged and accepted. In addition, combining carriers includes FAA oversight of safety policies and procedures – leading to the Single Operating Certificate. Flight Attendants will take part in “differences training” to ensure certification is the same on each aircraft. The company will also need the ability to schedule crew with a combined system.
The expanded flying opportunities and route network typically provides more choice for Flight Attendants in bidding and managing our schedules.
Some call it a merger, others call it an acquisition. Does it matter?
An acquisition is a technical finance term about the financial transaction between the two airlines. No matter what the technical financial transaction is called — the two companies must be merged together. The merger begins once the financial transaction is approved. Nothing changes for Alaska Flight Attendants or Hawaiian Flight Attendants until the airlines are in merger mode. That’s why we don’t refer to the financial transaction, because it doesn’t change your contract or your legal rights during the actual merger. When and if we get to an “approved deal” involving these airlines, that is when the merger starts and that is what it is called no matter how management initiated the deal.
Will I be able to remain in my base before the Flight Attendant groups are combined?
Yes – There will be no change to base assignments, and HA Flight Attendants will be able to stay in their domiciles and utilize all the provisions to transfer between LAX and HNL as we do today.
Will I be able to remain in my base after the Flight Attendant groups are combined?
Yes – There will be no “bump and flush” in which AS or HA Flight Attendants can displace other Flight Attendants. A Flight Attendant who is domiciled in HNL and wishes to remain in HNL will be able to do so. Once the Flight Attendant groups are combined, any Flight Attendant may bid for and be awarded a vacancy (there will be no ‘bumping’) at any base - awarded in combined seniority order.
How long will the Department of Justice (DOJ) take to approve the merger and what do they consider?
The DOJ considers the merger from the perspective of the consumer and anti-trust. They want to ensure that competition will remain in the industry and that this will not cause airline fares to dramatically increase in the markets that Alaska and Hawaiian serve. This is a lengthy process and may take up to 18 months or more.
Once the DOJ approves the merger, will the Flight Attendant Groups be combined?
NO – the process of combining the Flight Attendant groups is a lengthy and complicated one. Some of the milestones are DOJ approval, Single Operating Certificate from the FAA, Compiling the Seniority Lists, Negotiating the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JNC)
How long with this entire process take?
There is no way to predict how long this process could take, but it could easily be years. While this process is going on, Flight Attendants from both airlines will still work under their current separate contracts and remain in their separate bases.
What does it mean to get a Single Operating Certificate from the FAA and when does that happen?
After the corporate transaction, Alaska must apply to the FAA to achieve a Single Operating Certificate. It is the first step (but not the last one!) in working toward combining the operations of the two airlines. The merged airline will combine all aspects of two airlines' operations into a new entity under a single operating certificate. Before the FAA issues a single certificate, the merged airline must demonstrate that it will operate at the highest levels of safety. This is a lengthy process. The Single Operating Certificate for Alaska-Virgin America took over a year to secure. It took American 16 months to get the Single Operating Certificated when they merged with US Airways.
February 15, 2024
On Friday, February 2, the Master Executive Councils (MECs) for Hawaiian and Alaska met in Los Angeles to discuss the proposed merger between our two companies as required by Section X.B.5. of the AFA-CWA Constitution and Bylaws. The meeting was chaired by AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson. Dan Akins, our representative on the Hawaiian Airlines Board of Directors, was also in attendance along with the following notable attendees: • Joe Burns - AFA-CWA General Counsel • Paula Mastrangelo - AFA-CWA Staff Negotiator for Alaska and Hawaiian • Keturah Johnson - AFA-CWA International Vice President • Dante Harris - AFA-CWA International Secretary Treasurer • Toni Higgins - AFA-CWA International Staff Representative Many of you may remember Dan Akins as the aviation economist who helped make our case for our wage increases in the closing months of the 2020 negotiations. Dan was at the meeting in Los Angeles to provide his assessment of the proposed merger in the context of today’s aviation industry. [...]
February 6, 2024
On February 2, 2024, our International President convened the AFA-CWA Constitutional Section X Merger meeting with the Alaska and Hawaiian Master Executive Councils (MEC) in Los Angeles. This includes the directly elected Local Council Presidents and MEC officers at each airline. Our AFA professionals from Legal, Collective Bargaining, Government Affairs, and Communications were in attendance to support the elected Flight Attendant representatives, as well as AFA’s financial analyst/economist. The group met to thoroughly review the details of the proposed merger, our union’s merger policy and protections for Flight Attendants as well as a legal review of the merger process. Finally, we had a discussion about our support or opposition of the proposed Alaska-Hawaiian merger. [...]
January 9, 2024
We hope your 2024 New Year is off to a good start and you had an enjoyable holiday season with family and friends. We want to provide an update on the next steps in the merger process per the AFA-CWA Constitution & Bylaws, SecJon X Merger Policy. The Merger Policy outlined in SecJon X provides an organized structure that protects flight attendants during a merger. Merger Policy AFA’s Merger Policy Brings Structure to the Chaos AFA’s Constitution and Bylaws provides a well thought out, deliberate, and methodical game plan for addressing uncertainties of a merger all while protecting your rights and ensuring the best outcome for all Flight Attendants involved. [...]
December 8, 2023
With the upcoming potential merger of Hawaiian Airlines with Alaska Airlines, it’s important now more than ever to keep up to date with the information being published by both the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and Hawaiian Airlines. As we have continued to mention, mergers don’t happen quickly, and from what we are hearing we have a long road ahead. There is a lot of information we don’t have today, but we are committed to keeping you informed as information becomes available to us. Your leadership has been listening to your concerns and has tried to address them in our communications since Sunday’s announcement. [...]
December 6, 2023
AFA International has shepherded several of their MECs through mergers over the years and each one has been different. The only commonality is the massive number of details and the patience which must be exhibited to wait out long stretches of uncertainty and information voids. Change is often accompanied by a range of emotions and is completely normal to feel a mixture of excitement and apprehension during such times. We share all those emotions. Our legacy is long, proud, and connected to our home and who we are. Understandably, we have a sense of loss, feel overwhelmed, uncertain about our future, and betrayed after all we have poured into our company. [...]
December 3, 2023
This morning, we all learned that Hawaiian Airlines has entered into a merger agreement with Alaska Airlines. The announcement came as a surprise to everyone. The company expects that the merger will take 12-18 months to complete. On a professional level and as your AFA representatives, our first priority is to ensure your rights and interests are protected. To that end we have already spoken with AFA International President Sara Nelson, who has pledged the AFA’s full support to the Hawaiian and Alaska Flight Attendants during this process. [...]
December 3, 2023
We know that everyone has questions and concerns about the proposed merger of Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Mergers take time. Nothing will happen overnight. But right now we must stick together because the airlines are very clear about how this will benefit shareholders, consumers, and employees but together we can claim clarity in black and white for our jobs and the improvements we can expect. [...]