Delta Alliance Fuels Rumors Of Possible Buyout
Three months after announcing a significant codeshare and
marketing alliance with Delta Air Lines, officials at Alaska
Airlines say they'd consider a merger with another airline if the
right deal were made.
Officials hastened to add, however, that Alaska wants to remain
independent and sees no immediate need to rush into a partnership.
"Every year there's been a rumor about who is going to buy Alaska
and here we are doing well as an independent company," Alaska
Airlines CEO Bill Ayer told The Associated Press.
As ANN reported, Delta and Alaska announced an
agreement to expand the marketing agreement between both carriers,
to make the airlines preferred alliance partners on the West
Coast... an area where Delta, the world's largest airline following
last year's merger with Northwest, is relatively weak. The alliance
gave Delta codeshare access to over 50 destinations out of Los
Angeles, and over 100 new destinations from Portland and
At the time, Delta CEO Richard
Anderson said he had not talked with Alaska's CEO about a possible
merger... but since then, Delta hasn't commented further on the
matter. On Wednesday, Ayer said of mergers "no company can rule
that out" in these challenging economic times.
"You don't know where the world is headed," he added. While
stressing Alaska enjoys being an independent entity, Ayer also
stated "If there is a better alternative, we will look at that
Alaska's Chief Operating Officer, Ben Minicucci, was more
succinct. "If we run the company the way we're supposed to, we'll
In fact, it's Alaska's relatively strong economic performance
that has attracted merger buzz. Stock in Alaska Air Group is
trading near its 52-week high, an anomaly given the performance of
most airline stocks right now. The airline has also posted an
annual profit -- albeit one adjusted for certain losses in some
years -- since FY 2004.