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Alaska Air Group Reports Third Quarter Results

Third Quarter Financial and Other Highlights:

·Net income, excluding special items, was $83.0 million, or $2.33 per diluted share, compared to net income excluding special items of $39.9 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2008. This compares to a First Call mean estimate of $2.26 per share.

·Net income under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $87.6 million, or $2.46 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $86.5 million, or $2.40 per diluted share, in 2008.

·More than $1.2 billion in unrestricted cash and marketable securities as of Sept. 30, 2009.

·Alaska was No. 1 in U.S. Department of Transportation on-time performance in each month from April to August among major network carriers. Alaska also achieved unofficial on-time performance of 90 percent in September, while Horizon Air's on-time performance for September was 91.3 percent.

SEATTLE - Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE: ALK) today reported third quarter 2009 net income of $87.6 million, or $2.46 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $86.5 million, or $2.40 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2008. Excluding mark-to-market fuel hedge gains of $7.3 million ($4.6 million after tax or $0.13 per diluted share), the company reported net income of $83.0 million, or $2.33 per diluted share, compared to net income of $39.9 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, excluding mark-to-market fuel hedge losses and other special items in the third quarter of 2008.

"Our work to reduce capacity to better match demand, redeploy aircraft into promising new markets, and achieve record operational reliability contributed to our best quarterly financial performance in many years," said Bill Ayer, Alaska Air Group's chairman and chief executive officer. "My thanks to our people for taking excellent care of customers and for their relentless efforts to improve our business."

The following table reconciles the company's adjusted net income and earnings per diluted share (EPS) during the third quarters of 2009 and 2008 to the most directly related amounts as reported in accordance with GAAP (in millions except per-share amounts):





Three months ended Sept. 30,





2009



2008





Dollars



Diluted EPS



Dollars



Diluted EPS

Net income and diluted EPS, excluding special items

$83.0



$2.33



$39.9



$1.10

Change in Mileage Plan terms, net of tax

---



---



26.5



0.73

Restructuring charges, net of tax

---



---



(2.3)



(0.06)

Fleet transition costs - MD-80, net of tax

---



---



(13.5)



(0.37)

Fleet transition costs - CRJ-700, net of tax

---



---



(0.4)



(0.01)

Adjustments to reflect the timing of gain recognition resulting from mark-to-market fuel-hedge accounting, net of tax

4.6



0.13



(136.7)



(3.79)

Reported GAAP amounts

$87.6



$2.46



$(86.5)



$(2.40)


Financial and statistical data for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, as well as a reconciliation of the reported non-GAAP financial measures, can be found in the accompanying tables. A glossary of financial terms can be found at the end of this release.

A conference call regarding the third quarter 2009 results will be simulcast via the Internet at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time on Oct. 22, 2009. It can be accessed through the company's Web site at alaskaair.com/investors. For those unable to listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available after the conclusion of the call at alaskaair.com/investors.

References in this news release to "Air Group," "company," "we," "us" and "our" refer to Alaska Air Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries, unless otherwise specified. Alaska Airlines, Inc. and Horizon Air Industries, Inc. are referred to as "Alaska" and "Horizon," respectively, and together as our "airlines."

This news release contains forward-looking statements 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 and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause actual outcomes to be materially different from those indicated by any forward-looking statements. 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, 2008. Some of these risks include current economic conditions, increases in operating costs including fuel, competition, labor costs and relations, our significant indebtedness, inability to meet cost reduction goals, terrorist attacks, seasonal fluctuations in our financial results, an aircraft accident, changes in 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. 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 expressly disclaim any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements after the date of this report 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 and 2009 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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