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Alaska Air Seeks San Diego Niche

In Seattle, Alaska has 260 daily peak-season departures and partnerships with both American and Delta (DAL - Get Report). Delta has been building its Seattle-Asia service. Seattle is 4,700 miles from Asia, while the other West Coast airports are 5,000 miles from Asia.

In a recent report, Deutsche Bank analyst Mike Linenberg raised his rating on Alaska to buy from hold "due to a stronger earnings outlook, an improving credit profile and a more favorable competitive backdrop." He has a $70 price target. Cowen Securities analyst Helane Becker has a buy and a $63 price target.

McAdoo calls Alaska "one of the better-run airlines." He said its "network is less competitive than those of its peers or most low-cost airlines" and "careful expansion has allowed it to grow (while maintaining) some of the highest margins of the legacy carriers." As far as San Diego is concerned, the route selection had better work, or the routes will be gone. As McAdoo has written, "Alaska has publicly committed to only grow when it can do so profitably."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed
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