Alaska Airlines and regional affiliate Horizon Air have signed a letter of intent to enter a marketing partnership with American Airlines and American Eagle. Despite the tie-up, Alaska hopes to maintain its partnership with Northwest Airlines.

Bill Ayer, president of Alaska Airlines, says the deal "considerably strengthens Alaska's and Horizon's marketing presence in California, the Pacific Northwest and the West Coast."

Mike Gunn, American's marketing chief, says "-customers will enjoy enormous benefits from this partnership - from linking frequent flier programmes to accessing American's global network".

Alaska has told Northwest of its intent to modify their existing marketing agreement. "Our aim is to find a mutually acceptable way for Alaska to continue to market co-operatively with Northwest. We are in talks with Northwest, and we remain hopeful that we can maintain existing partner relations," says Ayer.

Meanwhile, American's plan to buy Reno Air passed the mandated waiting period under US federal anti-trust laws, satisfying one condition of the acquisition.

American will acquire Reno Air in a deal worth $124 million. They expect the acquisition will be completed in the first quarter of 1999, after which the airlines will begin integrating the route networks and workforces. American plans to re-establish its footing on the West Coast through the purchase of the low-fare carrier.

Source: Flight International