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Alaska Air Group (ALK) Expands Further, Adds New Routes

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Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, the wholly owned subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK - Free Report) plan to initiate nonstop daily flight service from Portland, OR to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) starting Nov 6. Also, flights between Portland and Detroit will be available from Aug 30. The carrier will also launch similar flights between Los Angeles and Philadelphia beginning Sep 1.

Following the launch of this service, the carrier will offer Portland residents 130 daily nonstop flights to 58 destinations, the highest number of flights offered by any of the carriers in Portland.  Rose City flyers greater access to New York’s metropolitan area airports – JFK and Newark- once the latest expansion move takes effect. JFK is the country's busiest international gateway and offers solid connectivity to customers traveling to Europe and beyond.

The new Detroit flights are the only daily, year-round nonstop service from Portland to the Motor City, a hub for auto industry giants like General Motors and Ford Motor Company. Passengers will be able to choose from low fare ticket options and also avail reliable and enhanced customer service for which the airline has earned a name on the West Coast.

We note that Alaska Air Group has expanded significantly following the acquisition of Virgin America in late 2016. Following the completion of the acquisition, the merged entity has access to most of the West Coast hubs (Seattle, Portland, Anchorage, San Francisco and Los Angeles). It is serving the maximum number of non-stop destinations from the West Coast.

Price Performance

Shares of Alaska Air Group gained 32.21% over the last six months, outperforming the Zacks Transportation-Airline industry’s increase of 21.86%.

The expansion of its flight service is expected to boost the stock further.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Alaska Air Group currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the airline space are Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOL - Free Report) , Deutsche Lufthansa and LATAM Airlines Group . Gol Linhas sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Deutsche Lufthansa and LATAM Airlines carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of Gol Linhas, Lufthansa and LATAM Airlines gained over 100%, 25% and 59%, respectively, on a year-to-date basis.

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