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Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air Employees Receive $54 Million in 2011 Annual Bonuses

SEATTLE — Alaska Air Group paid annual bonuses totaling $53.8 million today to nearly all of its 12,800 employees for exceeding the company's 2011 operational and financial goals. The bonus of about 6.7 percent of annual pay, or more than three weeks pay for most workers, is in addition to $1,000 in bonuses, on average, that each employee earned last year for achieving monthly on-time and customer satisfaction targets. The combined monthly and annual bonuses amounted to nearly $72 million.

"We received several top honors during the past year, including being named the most on-time major airline in North America for the second year in a row and winning our fourth straight J.D. Power award for customer service," said Brad Tilden, Alaska Air Group's CEO-elect and president of Alaska Airlines. "We earned these awards because of the hard work and dedication of our people. I want to thank them for their focus on running a safe and on-time operation, and for their commitment to our customers."

Nearly $33 million in annual bonuses — 61 percent of the total — is being paid to some 6,300 Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees in the Puget Sound area. Another $7.6 million is being paid to employees in the Portland, Ore., area while $5.3 million is going to workers throughout the state of Alaska.

"We're pleased to reward our employees for their outstanding efforts and hope these bonuses bring an added economic stimulus to businesses in the communities we serve," Chief Financial Officer Brandon Pedersen said.

In a recent company-wide survey, 430 employees shared plans to spend their annual bonuses. The top five choices are:

1. Pay bills
2. Take a vacation
3. Save for a rainy day
4. Home improvement
5. Donate a portion of their bonus to charity

"My daughter lives in Italy and is expecting her first baby in May," said Lupe Fountain, a reservations agent in Seattle and 22-year Alaska Airlines employee. "My bonus will pay for a three-week trip for my husband and I to travel to Milan to visit our first grandbaby."

Julie Jensen-Zarr, an Anchorage-based customer service agent and 13-year Alaska Airlines employee, is planning a major vacation. "I'm saving my bonus to take my husband on a 16-day trip to South Africa for a safari and to spend three days on a private island in the Indian Ocean deep-sea fishing," she said. "The trip is planned for April 2013 and what makes it even more special is that my colleague, Carol Brown, and her husband will join us on this trip."

Bonuses in Alaska Air Group's Performance Based Pay Plan are determined by meeting specific company-wide goals for safety, customer satisfaction, cost control and profit that are approved annually by the board of directors. Annual bonuses have averaged 5 percent since the plan was formed in 2003.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 North America Airline Satisfaction StudiesSM. For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.

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