SEATTLE — Fitch Ratings initiated coverage on Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK) with a rating of BBB-. Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, is one of only two U.S. airline companies to be rated investment grade.
"An investment grade credit rating affirms the work we have done to improve our business and strengthen our balance sheet," CFO Brandon Pedersen said. "We were particularly pleased that Fitch recognized our industry-leading operational performance and customer satisfaction scores. Our 13,000 Alaska and Horizon employees are dedicated to providing safe, reliable transportation and award-winning customer service on every flight, every day."
Fitch also noted the Company's dominant market position in the Pacific Northwest, loyal customer base, full-funded pension plans, improved cost structure and strong cash flow. The full Fitch Ratings press release is available at www.fitchratings.com .
Air Group announced its second two-for-one stock split on June 12, authorized a $650 million share repurchase in May and increased its quarterly dividend by 25 percent in February. Earlier this month, Alaska was recognized for the first time in Fortune magazine's list of the 500 largest companies in the United States.
Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together with its partner regional airlines, serves 100 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines has ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in the J.D. Power North America Airline Satisfaction StudySM for seven consecutive years from 2008 to 2014. Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan also ranked highest in the 2014 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report. For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines Newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.