Alaska Air does it again with record $842M profit in 2015

The State of Alaska might be rubbing pennies together, but its namesake airline is not.

Alaska Airlines’ parent company, Alaska Air Group Inc., once again posted record fourth quarter and full-year earnings in 2015.

Alaska Air Group executives reported a $186 million fourth quarter profit and a 2015 net income of $842 million in a Jan. 21 investor conference call.

The quarterly profit is a 49 percent year-over-year improvement and the full-year return is 47 percent better than 2014.

Gov’s foray into ‘fish war’ ill-fated as Maw faces felonies

Gov. Bill Walker’s early foray into the Cook Inlet fish conflict soon after taking office has turned out to be ill-fated as Roland Maw, his one-time nominee to the Board of Fisheries, was charged with residency fraud just a week after a meeting with Walker and the United Cook Inlet Drift Association.

North Pacific council keeps up work on Gulf bycatch plan

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet in Portland, Ore., Feb. 1-9 to discuss changes to Gulf of Alaska bycatch management, Bering Sea yellowfin sole management, and halibut management framework.

The council is one of eight regional fishery councils oversees federal fisheries within three to 200 miles from the coast.

Walker’s Permanent Fund plan gets first Senate hearing

JUNEAU (AP) — The chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee said Jan. 26 that he wants to vet several ideas surrounding the use of Alaska Permanent Fund earnings.

Sen. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, said that could include a constitutional amendment to allow voters to weigh in on the matter. So far, such a measure has not been introduced.

Stoltze said he wants to be able to have different bills and ideas ready to send to the Senate Finance Committee for additional review.

Cheap oil good for consumers, bad for stocks

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is drowning in oil.

Stocks are having their worst start to a year in history in part because of a rapid plunge in the price of oil. The price of crude is down 28 percent this year already, which in turn has dragged down energy company shares in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index by 13 percent, which has helped pull the overall index down 9 percent.

This even though low oil prices — and the cheap prices for gasoline and other fuels that result — are wonderful for consumers and many companies.

The Bookworm Sez: Do tomorrow’s list today

You tried to make a big sale last week.

A sale would’ve made you money and it would’ve made your numbers go up, which would definitely have made you happy. Alas, you just couldn’t make it happen, but if you read “Organize Tomorrow Today” by Dr. Jason Selk & Tom Bartow with Matthew Rudy, you’ll see how you might’ve made it so.

Just like everybody else in the world, you have a finite amount of time: 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Part of that time is spent at work but, for many reasons, making the utmost of each precious minute can sometimes seem impossible.

CINGSA appeals decision on sales of gas discovery

KENAI — Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska is contesting a revenue-sharing scheme that would allow it to sell 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas found in its underground storage facility if it gives 61.1 percent of the revenue to its client utilities.

CINGSA is appealing for the Alaska Superior Court to overturn a Dec. 4, 2015, decision by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, the state entity that oversees public utilities.

Kenai finalizes pot regulations, doubles schools setback

KENAI — Prospective marijuana businesses in Kenai will have to observe 1,000-foot setbacks from schools, 500-foot setbacks from other sensitive areas — measured two different ways — a list of zones in which they can establish themselves with permission from the Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission, and two zones in which one business type can operate unpermitted.

The Kenai City Council amended and unanimously passed the city’s final marijuana regulations during a four-and-a-half hour meeting Jan. 20.

Movers and Shakers 1/31/16

R&M Consultants Inc. named Len Story, PLS as the firm’s new CEO and Bret Coburn as chief financial officer, effective Jan. 1. This is a planned change as laid out in the firm’s succession plan. Story joined R&M in 1979, as a survey technician. Over the past 37 years, he has worked his way up, filling roles as party chief, senior land surveyor, Surveying and Mapping Department manager, vice president, chief operating officer (2008-2015) and now CEO.

FDA: only Alaska pollock is 'Alaska pollock'

Alaska pollock is having a good 2016 so far, with boosted quotas, favorable certifications, and a federal rule that will give Alaska an edge over Russia.

Buckling down in face of budget deficit

State legislators are back in Juneau for the 2016 legislative session, and they’re back facing a huge budget deficit.

Some legislative leaders say they’re ready to step up to the plate to deal with it.

Three Republican senators — Senate President Kevin Meyer, Finance Co-chair Anna MacKinnon and Resources Chair Cathy Giessel — say some combination of budget cuts and new revenues such as use of Permanent Fund earnings for this year are needed to solve the problem.

Cuts must come first, all three say. But cuts alone won’t do the job.

Latest McDowell Group seafood report shows job growth

Harvesting Alaska seafood ranks between oil and tourism in economic impact, according to a new report detailing on the commercial fishing industry.

The Juneau-based economics firm McDowell Group released an updated study on the economic impacts of the commercial fishing industry on Jan. 19. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, a private-state collaboration designed to increase Alaska seafood’s worldwide value, contracted the report.

Judge keeps subcontractors in port lawsuit

Subcontractors are still potentially liable for work done years ago on the disastrous Port of Anchorage expansion project, according to a federal court ruling.

U.S. District Court of Alaska Judge Sharon Gleason ruled Jan. 13 that Quality Asphalt Paving Inc. and MKB Constructors, its working partner on the Anchorage port project in the late 2000s, are still subject to a lawsuit filed by the Municipality of Anchorage because the city never knowingly reconciled with the companies.

Restricting board-generated proposals among fisheries bills

Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, is proposing a change to the Boards of Fisheries and Game process that would put certain proposals back into public oversight under House Bill 103.

“Notwithstanding another provision of this chapter,” the bill reads, “the boards may adopt, amend, or repeal a regulation only if that regulation, or the amendment or repeal of that regulation, was initially recommended by (1) an advisory committee established under AS 16.05.260; (2) a state agency; or (3) a person petitioning the boards under AS 44.62.220.”

Fairbanks wants bigger slice of $15.7B PILT pie

Emotions can run high when $15.7 billion is up for grabs.

Decorum held Jan. 15 as mayors of the boroughs along the proposed Alaska LNG Project corridor debated the appropriate allocation of $15.7 billion the state and local governments could get in-lieu of traditional property tax revenue on the project’s infrastructure. However, the Municipal Advisory Gas Project Review Board meeting discussion certainly had an undercurrent of tension.

Much of the back-and-forth centered on parsing out what is fair, particularly for the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Market slide shows risks of counting on Fund earnings

Since oil first started gushing through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System nearly 40 years ago, the Alaska has repeatedly failed to learn the lessons from the troughs in the price cycle.

Now facing a yawning budget gap nearing $4 billion annually with crude collapsing to less than $27 per barrel as of Jan. 20, there is near-unanimous support to shift from oil income to tapping the investment earnings from the Permanent Fund to bridge the gap.

Industry: Tongass timber forecast flawed

A U.S. Forest Service study projects growth in Tongass timber harvest over the next 15 years, but leaders of Alaska’s timber industry are saying the forecast is still too low.

The draft Tongass National Forest Timber Demand report calls for a timber harvest increase from fiscal year 2014 of nearly 25 percent by 2030 on Tongass lands. Southeast mills took 39 million board feet of lumber from the national forest in 2014; the 2030 harvest is forecasted to be 51.8 million board feet.

Anchorage regs would ban pot clubs, pesticides

The Municipality of Anchorage doesn’t exactly trust state regulations, but appears to see the new marijuana industry as a revenue source worth mining.

An Anchorage ordinance would ban cannabis clubs and cafes, force retailers to foot the bill for cultivators’ pesticide use, and subject the Anchorage industry to city inspection on top of the required state inspection. Meanwhile, a separate ordinance establishes a retail marijuana sales tax that exceeds the city’s tax cap.

Budget challenge makes it time to put our wealth to work

By now, most of you know we have a budget challenge: Over the past two years, Alaska’s oil revenue has plummeted by 88 percent, mainly due to a sharp drop in oil prices.

We’ve cut the budget from $8 billion in 2012 to $4.8 billion. Despite these reductions, our deficit amounts to more than half our annual budget.

INSIDE REAL ESTATE: A snapshot of Anchorage housing as oil prices plunge

In Anchorage, a home in an upscale subdivision was recently put on the market for $25,000 less than the buyer paid for it 17 months ago. The seller is a relocation company most likely hired by an oil, or oil field service, company to dispose of a departing employee’s primary residence.

The $25,000 amounts to a 3 percent reduction from the original purchase price paid by the employee to the builder. 


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