SEATTLE (AP) -- Alaska Air Group on Thursday reported a wider than expected loss for the first quarter, in part because of the cost of adding new aircraft to its Horizon Air commuter airline.
The Seattle airline group, which includes Alaska Airlines and Horizon, lost $33.1 million, or $1.25 per share, for the first quarter, compared with $66.1 million, or $2.50 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call were expecting a loss of $1.04 a share.
Sales rose 5 percent to $516 million from $489.7 million.
''There results are disappointing, but not unexpected,'' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John F. Kelly said.
He said Horizon's new aircraft, combined with a decline in business travel, accounted for some of the loss.
Horizon is taking delivery of 15 new Bombardier Q400 turboprops this year to replace older and smaller aircraft, and holds options on 15 more of the 70-passenger planes, at a cost of about $18.5 million each.
Shares in Alaska Air Group closed up 89 cents to $27.99 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
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