Alaska cash up and debt down in Q2

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Alaska Air Group increased cash reserves while paying down debt during the second quarter compared to a year earlier.

The Seattle-based airline had $1.2 billion in cash and short-term investments at the end of June, which was up 9% from the $1.1 billion at the end of March. It had $1.2 billion in cash and short-term investments at the end of the second quarter 2011.

Alaska had $957.1 million in long-term debt at the end of the quarter, which was down 4.3% from $1 billion at the end of the first quarter. It had $1.2 billion in debt at the end of June 2011.

Free cash flow was used to pay off $165 million in long-term debt and to repurchase stock during the quarter, says Brandon Pedersen, chief financial officer of Alaska, in an earnings call today.

Capital expenditure was $255 million during the second quarter, says Pedersen. The airline took delivery of three Boeing 737-800s for its mainline operation and two Bombardier Q400s at its Horizon Air subsidiary during the period.

Alaska revised down its capital expenditure guidance for the full year to $470 million from $480 million due to the delay of some 737-900ER deliveries, says Pedersen.