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Deregulation allowed it to expand to the lower 48, first down the west coast and into Mexico, and then across the country.
The mid-1980s saw the formation of Alaska Air Group (a holding company for Alaska Airlines), and the acquisitions of Horizon Air and Jet America Airlines.
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Employees: All companies speak in glowing terms of their employees, but few walk the walk like Alaska Air.The acquisition of Virgin America adds to its scope and opportunities.It adds 14 gates in California, one in Dallas and 60 gates in the Northeast.Then, of course, there was the addition of Virgin America late last year.A press release announcing the closing noted the company would not make a quick decision about how Virgin would fit in: “Alaska plans to continue to operate the Virgin America fleet with its current name and product for a period of time while it conducts extensive customer research to understand what fliers value the most.” According to its 10-K for 2015 (unless otherwise noted, information in this article comes from the 10-K), Alaska Air distinguishes itself from other airlines through what it calls its Five Focus Areas: Image from Alaska Air Group’s 2016 Investor Presentation.Fuel continues to have dramatic impacts on the profitability of airlines.Alaska Air reports in its 10-K that fuel expense ranged from 22% to 35% of operating expenses in the five fiscal years ending with 2015. During 2016, the stock fell from .44 on Jan.1 to .66 on June 27, then turned around and rallied to close out the year at .73. Not only did it have strong operating and financial results, but it also completed a billion acquisition of Virgin America (VA), increased its dividend by 9%, bought back 1.5% of its shares and paid 0 million in bonuses to its employees. Investors looking for capital gains would be at least relieved and perhaps pleased.The latter is particularly important, as Alaska Airlines and Horizon have focused in the West Coast region, where they have the largest market share.It is also expanding upmarket, with the introduction of Premium Class last month; that provides extra legroom, early boarding, snacks, and complimentary drinks.