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Alaska Air Group Announces Stock Repurchase Program

SEATTLE - Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE: ALK) today announced that its board of directors approved a stock repurchase program authorizing the company to buy up to $50 million of its common stock.

"This program allows us to continue enhancing shareholder value through the repurchase of outstanding shares while preserving our strong cash balance," said Bill Ayer, the company's chairman and chief executive officer. "Today's announcement is consistent with the company's practice of repurchasing shares opportunistically and underscores our commitment to providing a reasonable return to investors."

The company intends to finance the repurchases with cash on hand. The repurchase program authorizes the company to purchase its common stock from time to time through open market purchases, negotiated transactions or other means, including accelerated share repurchases and 10b5-1 trading plans in accordance with applicable securities laws.

Alaska Air Group repurchased a total of approximately $160 million of its common stock through similar programs in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

This news release contains forward-looking statements that are intended to be subject to the safe harbor protection provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements relate to future events or our future financial performance and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results or performance to be materially different from those indicated by any forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include the statements concerning our confidence in the company's future business prospects and financial position, our belief that the repurchase program will allow us to enhance shareholder value while providing flexibility to continue investing in long-term strategic opportunities, and our intent to finance the repurchases with cash on hand. For a comprehensive discussion of potential risk factors, see Item 1A of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2009. Some of these risks include increased competition, significant fuel costs, general economic conditions, labor costs and relations, our significant indebtedness, inability to meet cost reduction goals, terrorist attacks, seasonal fluctuations in our financial results, an aircraft accident, laws and regulations, and government fees and taxes. All of the forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to the risk factors discussed therein. These risk factors may not be exhaustive. We operate in a continually changing business environment, and new risk factors emerge from time to time. Management cannot predict such new risk factors, nor can it assess the impact, if any, of such new risk factors on our business or events described in any forward-looking statements. We disclaim any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements after the date of this news release to conform them to actual results. Over time, our actual results, performance or achievements will likely differ from the anticipated results, performance or achievements that are expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements, and such differences might be significant and materially adverse.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve more than 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 and 2010 North America Airline Satisfaction StudiesSM. For reservations, visit alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at alaskaair.com/newsroom.

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