Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK) agreed to buy  Virgin America Inc. (Nasdaq: VA) for $2.6 billion, overcoming interest in the  Richard Branson-backed carrier from JetBlue Airways Corp. to secure a deal that bolsters its main West Coast business while opening up key airports in New York and Washington.

Alaska Air will pay $57 a share for Virgin America stock, with the deal worth about $4 billion including debt and capitalized aircraft operating leases, the Seattle-based company said Monday.

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