PH 206.624.6800 / INFO@PWRFL-LAW.COM
1501 4TH AVE, SUITE 2800, SEATTLE, WA 98101-3677
Appellate Practice / Construction Accidents /
Insurance Bad Faith / Medical Malpractice / Personal Injury
Felix Gavi Luna, J.D.
PARTNER, P WRFL
U W SCHOOL OF LA W, 1997
Trial advocate. Teacher. Community leader.
NEVER BE AFRAID TO
RAISE YOUR VOICE
FOR HONESTY, TRUTH
Some fatigue did set in
after all the exhilaration that
led to the merger closing.
Improvements Act of 1976]. We got way
more than we bargained for in that process. If you look at this deal objectively,
it’s the combination of two small carriers. You were taking what was the sixth
largest carrier in the country and asking to merge it with the ninth or tenth
largest carrier. By putting Alaska and
Virgin America together, you still only
had the distant-fifth largest airline in
the country and their route maps were
more complementary than overlapping.
The next bigger carrier is Southwest
Airlines, which is three or four times
bigger than the new Alaska. Going on
this logic, we thought that the Department of Justice would quickly and
easily approve our merger. We learned
pretty quickly that the regulators had
a different view. They were concerned
about Virgin America’s disposition of
federally controlled slots at airports like
Ronald Reagan Washington National
Airport, New York-LaGuardia, and
gates at Dallas-Love Field. They wanted
to make sure that those assets stayed in
the hands of a carrier that would keep
competitive pressure on the so-called
legacy carriers like United, Delta, and
American. I think we did a good job of
convincing the Justice Department that
we were a natural for this task. We were
able to show that we generally bring
lower fares in markets where we’re up
against the legacy carriers. We’ve always considered low fares and high-val-ue to be our core business proposition,
but the folks reviewing the merger had
little exposure to Alaska Airlines.
NWLawyer: What has been the most
personally challenging part of the
merger process for you as GC?
KL: The regulatory approval process
took much longer than expected—
nearly nine months—and the pace
frustrated us all. But looking back
it was an awesome experience to be
responsible for delivering this critical
piece of the merger puzzle rather than
playing our more customary supporting role.