Alaska Airlines continues to eye a potential unsecured debt issue on the capital markets, nearly two years after it received an investment grade rating.

The Seattle-based carrier is seriously considering financing options, including an unsecured bond, said Mark Eliasen, treasurer of Alaska, at the ISTAT Americas conference in Phoenix.

When asked whether they actually intend to tap debt markets in 2016, after he made similar comments to Flightglobal in 2013, 2014 and 2015, he says yes, the market could see something from Alaska soon.

The airline could also issue secured enhanced equipment trust certificate (EETC) notes or tap the bank market for financing, however, neither would likely beat the terms and rates possible with an unsecured capital markets deal.

Alaska has a strong balance sheet. Operating cash flow was $1.6 billion in 2015, allowing it to pay cash for 11 Boeing 737-900ERs and one Bombardier Q400, while increasing liquidity and reducing debt.

Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities stood at $1.33 billion and long-term debt net current maturities at $571 million at the end of December 2015, up 9% and down 16.8%, respectively, over the course of the year.

Alaska had 89 unencumbered aircraft out of a fleet of 212 mainline and regional aircraft at the end 2015.

Source: Cirium Dashboard