Alaska Airlines now nation’s fifth largest airline

An Alaska Airlines jet takes off at the Nome airport. (Photo courtesy of David Dodman.)

Alaska Airlines is now the fifth largest airline in the nation after acquiring Virgin America Airlines last week.

In a release Wednesday, December 14th, CEO of Alaska Air Group Brad Tilden said that the two airlines may appear to be different, but they share a similar focus on quality of customer service and care for employees.

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The merger agreement between the two airlines was signed in April and approved in July by Virgin America shareholders.

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America plan to spend the next year securing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification to operate both airlines as a single carrier.