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Virgin America

One of the diciest points in an airline merger is consolidating computer systems. That moment arrives Tuesday night for Alaska Airlines and its former West Coast rival Virgin America.

Alaska Airlines is still ironing out operational wrinkles following the acquisition of Virgin America last year. At the same time, its smaller, regional airline is still grappling with a pilot shortage.

Alaska Airlines

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines has closed the deal to take over West Coast rival Virgin America. Airline executives, workers and journalists are flying down to San Francisco Wednesday morning on a specially-painted plane for an announcement and rally at Virgin America's main hub. Alaska Airlines had kept the celebratory Boeing 737 under wraps at considerable expense for months. That, while its $2.6 billion takeover languished under extended government antitrust review.

The proposed takeover by Alaska Airlines of its West Coast rival Virgin America has cleared its biggest hurdle. The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday approved the $2.6 billion merger with conditions.

Stockholders in Virgin America have approved the acquisition of their airline by Alaska Airlines. The chairman of Virgin America announced the voting results at a brief shareholders meeting Tuesday.

Alaska Airlines' proposed takeover of rival Virgin America remains on course pending federal approval expected late this year. That's according to Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden. Tilden told Wall Street analysts Thursday that he's still undecided about whether to keep the Virgin America brand alive after the acquisition goes through.

Alaska Airlines management is expressing confidence about integrating its rival Virgin America, whose pending acquisition was announced Monday. Any airline merger poses challenges and this one is no exception.

Alaska Air outbid rival JetBlue Airways to acquire Virgin America in what Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden described as "a hard fought competition." Alaska Air won the bidding war with a $2.6 billion all-cash offer that was announced Monday.