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Alaska Air Stock Hits Record High After Earnings Report, Merger With Virgin America

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Air Group stock hit a new all-time high in trading Wednesday after a solid earnings report and dividend increase. The parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flew 13 percent more passengers in the final quarter of 2016 compared to the same period a year ago.

The Seattle-based company also absorbed $81 million in merger-related costs due to its recent acquisition of rival Virgin America.

Due to the strong earnings in 2016, Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said most Alaska Airlines workers will soon receive profit-sharing bonuses equal to about one month's pay.

Alaska Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer Ben Minicucci is the executive in charge of integrating Virgin into Alaska. He offered a rosy outlook when he briefed Wall Street analysts on a conference call.

"We are working hard on bringing these two cultures together to honor what has been so great at Alaska Airlines, but looking at Virgin to see what Virgin can bring to really help the new Alaska to greater heights,” Minicucci said. “I am really confident about what we’re doing now and where we’re going."

Alaska Airlines management said it will announce decisions about the future of the Virgin America brand and its acquired fleet of Airbus jets late next month.

Meanwhile, the carrier has not said whether it will participate in a White House meeting Thursday between airline and airport CEOs and President Donald Trump.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.