TEXT-S&P: Alaska Air ratings unaffected by share repurchases

Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:00pm EDT

Sept 26 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that its ratings and
outlook on Seattle, Wash.-based Alaska Air Group Inc. (BB-/Positive/--)
and its Alaska Airlines Inc. (BB-/Positive/--) subsidiary are unaffected by the
company's announcement that its board of directors has authorized a new $250
million share repurchase program. Since 2007, the company has repurchased $312
million of its shares. The new program is substantially higher than previous
programs, which have typically been $50 million. However, we expect the company
to repurchase the shares at a similar rate as those of the previous programs
through Dec. 31, 2014--its target date for completion. The company will finance
the repurchase with unrestricted cash on hand, about $1.2 billion as of Aug. 31,
2012. As a result, we do not expect the program to affect the company's credit
metrics or liquidity.