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Alaska Air says making 'good progress' on Virgin merger review

| WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON Oct 14 Alaska Air Group Inc was making "good progress" in talks with the Justice Department on a planned merger with Virgin America Inc, an Alaska spokeswoman said on Friday.

The Seattle-based company had said previously that it would not close its deal with Virgin before Oct. 17, and spokeswoman Bobbie Egan declined to spell out what would happen after that date.

"We're good. We're making good progress with the DOJ (U.S. Justice Department) and we're looking at closing in early Q4," said Egan.

She declined to discuss potential sticking points. "I'm not going into detail on the private negotiations underway but I can say that we're making good progress," she said.

Alaska announced its $2.6 billion cash deal for Virgin America in April, which will make it the top carrier on the U.S. West Coast if the merger is approved. It would be the fifth largest U.S. carrier after American, Delta, United and Southwest.

The Justice Department declined to comment. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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