Alaska Air Group Inc. said on Wednesday it completed its $2.6 billion acquisition of Virgin America Inc., more than eight months after it was first announced, to become the fifth-largest U.S. carrier.
The four big U.S. airlines by passenger traffic are American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., United Airlines Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co.
Alaska Air said it would continue to operate the Virgin America fleet with its current name for a period of time and would conduct customer research to understand what fliers value most.
Last week, the company won U.S. antitrust approval for its acquisition of Virgin America on condition that it would scale back its code-sharing with American Airlines.
Under the settlement with the Justice Department, Alaska Air and American Airlines would be banned from code-sharing on routes where Virgin and American Airlines now compete.
Code-sharing is also barred on routes that Alaska Air might start in the future if American Airlines also flies that route.
Alaska Air said it now has nearly 1,200 daily flights to 118 destinations.
(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Martina D'Couto)