Alaska increases fleet financing flexibillity

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Alaska Air Group will have 35 unencumbered aircraft by the end of the year, giving it flexibility to raise debt financing on the assets in the future.

Brendon Pedersen, chief financial officer of Alaska, says that the airline could raise a significant amount of cash quickly on these owned Boeing 737s in the current market, at the Dahlman Rose Global Transportation Conference in New York today.

"[The aircraft] are a well of liquidity we have if we need flexibility in the future," he says. They are largely 737-800s.

Pedersen says that Alaska is focused on running its existing business and not on possible mergers or acquisitions currently, in response to questions on why it needs the financing flexibility. However, he adds that if an attractive opportunity were to emerge the airline is willing to take a look.

Alaska anticipates $470 million in capital expenditure this year and between $450 million and $480 million in 2013, says Pedersen.

Alaska had $1.2 billion in cash and short-term investments, and $957.1 million in long-term debt at the end of June.