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Alaska Air board OKs buyback of $250M in shares

SEATTLE (AP) -- Alaska Air Group Inc. said Wednesday that its board approved the repurchase of up to $250 million of the company's common stock.

The program does not have an expiration date, but Alaska Air said it would like to complete it by the end of 2014. The company said it planned complete its previous $50 million buyback program on Wednesday.

Alaska Air said the new buyback program is its largest ever and represents more than 10 percent of the company's current market capitalization. It plans to finance the repurchases with cash on hand.

Alaska Air said it has repurchased 18.1 million shares of its common stock, on a split-adjusted basis, for $312 million through similar programs over the past five years.

Alaska Air shares rose $1.25, or 3.7 percent, to $34.92 in morning trading.