On the 14th of December 2016 Alaska Air Group (Alaska) announced it has closed its acquisition of Virgin America. The definitive merger agreement was signed in April 2016 and approved by Virgin America shareholders in July 2016.

Alaska claimed that the merger brings together two of the country's favorite airlines into a unified force that will provide an attractive alternative to the "Big 4" airlines that currently control 84 percent of the domestic market.

Alaska and Virgin America will spend the next year working to secure Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification to allow the two airlines to operate as a single carrier (with regional sister carrier Horizon Air remaining on its own separate operating certificate).

Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group, said: "Together, we'll offer more flights, with low fares, more rewards and more for customers to love, as we continue to offer a distinctive travel experience. The two airlines may look different, but our core customer and employee focus is very much the same."

Alaska said that today the group boasts nearly 1,200 daily flights to 118 destinations, the most seats on flights from the West Coast and more than $7 billion annual revenues.

The combination expands service and provides more frequent connections to international airline partners in thriving technology markets in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Seattle. Together, the airlines offer 289 daily flights to 52 destinations from California, including 113 daily nonstop flights to 32 destinations from three Bay Area airports and 105 daily nonstop flights to 37 destinations from four Los Angeles area airports.

On the 6th of December 2016, the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has completed its review and approved Alaska Air Group's acquisition of Virgin America.

In addition, the combination opens up growth opportunities in important East Coast business markets by increasing Alaska Air Group's access to high-demand airports like Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the three primary New York City-area airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.