There has been a bit of news in the papers and the blogosphere about Alaska Airlines recently. Admittedly, I’m guilty of my own bit of pontification about Alaska. The articles in the local Seattle press have run the gamut culminating in a piece Thursday in the Puget Sound Business Journal on the possibility of Seattle losing a corporate philanthropist if Delta buys Alaska. I’m not sure what’s in the water lately, but let me state this – everybody please calm down!
First, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hades that this Justice Department (and maybe the one after it) allows another airline merger anytime soon. Second, the airlines have merged enough in my book. Finally, the only possible place I see where a case for a merger (outside of an economic collapse) might be made at some point in time is in the low cost end of the business. Afterall, I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that early on, the company that eventually became JetBlue was this close to being affiliated with Sir Richard’s Virgin Group….take it for what you will.
All that said, there’s some justified interest in America’s most partnered airline, Alaska. Here’s what I think is going to happen.
- Alaska and Delta are going to break up
- Delta is going to continue to encroach on Seattle
- Alaska will continue to succeed in its hometown
- Delta might just carve out something for itself in Seattle too but no guarantees
- Alaska will enhance its partnership with American by joining Oneworld
- The end
Yes, I think Alaska’s days of going it alone in the classic sense of the word are going to end. That doesn’t mean that Alaska Airlines can’t continue to be its unique and independent self, but I think it’s going to do so within the context of a major airline alliance, and I happen to think it’s going to be Oneworld. What do you think?
-MJ, March 20, 2015