Alaska Air completes $2.6B merger with Virgin America

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Alaska Air Group has closed on its $2.6 billion acquisition of Virgin America, becoming the fifth largest airline in the U.S.

The two airlines will now spend the next year working to obtain certification from the Federal Aviation Administration in order to operate as a single carrier, Alaska said.

“Alaska Airlines and Virgin America are different airlines, but we believe different works – and we’re confident fliers will agree,” Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Together, we’ll offer more flights, with low fares, more rewards and more for customers to love, as we continue to offer a distinctive travel experience. The two airlines may look different, but our core customer and employee focus is very much the same,” he said.

The Justice Department approved the deal earlier this month, clearing the last major hurdle for the merger since Alaska won a bidding war to acquire Virgin in April.

{mosads}As part of the deal, Alaska agreed to reduce its codesharing relationship with American Airlines amid fears it would compete less vigorously with American than Virgin, but was not required to divest any assets.

The expanded route network will offer more nonstop destinations served from the West Coast than any other airline, with nearly 1,200 daily flights to 118 destinations in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica and Cuba.

Starting Monday, customers can purchase Virgin America tickets on Alaska’s website. Alaska’s Mileage Plan members can also earn miles on Virgin America flights, and vice versa, and elite members on each airline will receive priority check-in and priority boarding on the other’s flights.

Tags Alaska Air Group Alaska Airlines American Airlines Group

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