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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hawaiian not concerned about merger of Continental, United

 •  Growth in business travelers expected to make merger pay

Advertiser Staff

Hawaiian Airlines said it doesn't expect any short-term impact on its business from the merger of Continental and United Airlines.

"Consolidation in general is something that we've been expecting for some time now," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and chief executive officer.

"What's really important for a company like Hawaiian is to continue to be financially self-sufficient so that no matter what happens to the competition we're in the position to grow and prosper."

As far as what the impact might be on fares between the Mainland and Hawai'i, it's too early to tell, said Steve Danishek, an airline industry consultant based in Seattle.

Anti-trust regulators will be looking at routes where United and Continental overlap, and where the merger may result in the combined airline having an unacceptably high market share, he said.

However, there appears to be little overlap on flights from the Mainland to Hawai'i, Danishek said. One exception is the Los Angeles-to-Hawai'i route, where both carriers have regular service.

Still, there are a number of other carriers that fly the route and it may turn out that the United-Continental combination may not trigger anti-trust concerns, he said.

The merger could result in some layoffs in Honolulu as the two airlines merge their ticket counters, Danishek said.

They'll lose some counter space as they streamline operations. And that means some people may be out of work, he said.