Alaska Airlines & Horizon Air Returns to Profitability

Alaska Air Group Inc., parent of Alaska Airlines
and Horizon Air, reported first-quarter net income of $5.3 million compared
with a loss of $19.2 million, or a loss of 53 cents per share a year earlier. The
company said it’s the best first quarter since 1999.


Horizon

Including one-time items, the Seattle
company reported net income of $13.1 million, or 36 cents per
share, compared with an adjusted loss of $25.4 million, or a loss of 70 cents a
share in 2009. Total operating revenue rose to $830 million from $742 million a
year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters
First Call were expecting earnings of 35 cents per share and revenue of $816
million.

“Producing a profit in our seasonally
weakest period is particularly noteworthy,” said Bill Ayer, CEO, in a
statement. He cited higher load factors, improving pricing trends, selective
schedule reductions and entry into new markets for the fiscal improvement.

Alaska also announced some new fee
changes and routes on Thursday. Alaska and Horizon increased the fee charged
for the first piece of checked luggage from $15 to $20, but reduced the fee
charged for a second bag by $5 to $20. Another feature affected is customers
will no longer be able to hold reservations for 24 hours without paying for a
ticket.

Alaska Airlines also announced new
seasonal service between Portland, Ore. to Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island and new
service from San Diego to Maui and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Alaska also will
add another three-times-weekly Seattle-to-Kona flight in November.

Horizon Air will add four daily round-trip flights between San Jose, and Los Angeles starting Aug. 23.