Alaska Airlines expects its unit costs excluding fuel and special charges to drop 5% in the quarter ended March 31 to 8.1 cents, primarily owing to a shift in the timing of maintenance effects, it said in an SEC filing. It also expects to incur a pre-tax impairment charge of $130-$140 million related to plans to retire 15 owned MD-80s ahead of previous plans in favor of 737NGs (ATWOnline, March 14). Nonadjusted CASM is expected to rise 23% to 13.6 cents.

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