Alaska Air Group Inc. is an airline holding company based in SeaTac, Washington. It owns three certificated airlines operating in the United States: Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and Virgin America. The Alaska Air Group also oversees an aircraft ground handling company, McGee Air Services, which is wholly owned by Alaska Airlines.
It was formed in 1985 and acquired Horizon Air and Jet America Airlines the next year. Jet America Airlines was merged into Alaska Airlines in 1987.
Between 2007 and 2010, the number of employees under Alaska Air Group's subsidiaries dropped from 13,618 (10,142 at Alaska Airlines and 3,476 at Horizon Air) to 12,039 (9,013 at Alaska Airlines and 3,202 at Horizon Air). By 2011, the number of employees had risen to 12,806 (9,640 at Alaska Airlines and 3,166 at Horizon Air).
In 2011, Alaska Air Group replaced the AMR Corporation in the Dow Jones Transportation Average following AMR's filing for bankruptcy.
On March 29, 2016 Alaska Airlines announced that it would form a wholly owned subsidiary called McGee Air Services, a dedicated airline services company. McGee competes with other, similar companies to provide ground handling, aircraft cleaning and wheelchair services to Alaska Airlines.
On April 4, 2016, Alaska Air Group announced plans to acquire Virgin America, pending approval from US government regulators and Virgin America shareholders, before the acquisition was completed on December 14, 2016. The total price for the acquisition was approximately $2.6 billion. Until 2018, Alaska Air Group will continue to operate Alaska Airlines and Virgin America as separate airlines and will continue to honor both Alaska's Mileage Plan and Virgin America's Elevate loyalty programs. By the end of 2016, following Virgin America's acquisition the number of Alaska Air Group employees rose to 19,112 (12,224 at Alaska Airlines, 3,616 at Horizon Air, and 3,252 at Virgin America).
On March 22, 2017 the company announced that Alaska Air Group will merge Virgin America and Alaska Airlines, with the combined airline to operate under the Alaska Airlines brand. The Virgin America brand is expected to be retired in 2019.
As of 2017, Alaska Air Group shares are mainly held by institutional investors T. Rowe Price, The Vanguard Group, and others.
Alaska Air Group operates a mix of Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, and Embraer aircraft through its subsidiaries Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, and Virgin America. As of October 2017, Alaska Airlines' fleet consisted of 151 jet aircraft, Horizon Air's fleet consisted of 52 turboprop and 10 jet aircraft, and Virgin America's fleet consisted of 65 jet aircraft, with the combined fleet under Alaska Air Group's management numbering 278 aircraft.
Alaska Air Group has created a new branding identity for its Horizon Air subsidiary and other independently owned and separately directed affiliate regional airlines it chooses to contract to do regional flying business into markets too limited to be flown only on Alaska Airlines mainline equipment. Among the other airlines now sub-contracted to do additional flying for the Alaska Air Group is SkyWest, Inc.'s SkyWest Airlines, whose Bombardier CRJ700 and Embraer E175 aircraft dedicated to providing service for the Alaska Air Group are painted in a very similar manner to Alaska Horizon's. SkyWest's fleet however, is branded Alaska SkyWest to differentiate that airline's aircraft from those of Horizon Air.
Through Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, Alaska Air Group services the passenger and cargo markets of the Pacific Northwest with its extensive route network hub through Seattle/Tacoma and Portland International Airports, and the state of Alaska through Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. After the demise of Aloha Airlines and ATA Airlines in 2008, Alaska Air Group expanded heavily centering on Hawaii and other non-airline hub secondary mainland cities and airports, including San Diego International Airport and San Jose International Airport. After the acquisition of Virgin America in 2016, Alaska Air Group further expanded into California through Virgin America's hubs at San Francisco and Los Angeles International Airports, and focus city at Dallas Love Field in Texas.