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Airline Stock Roundup: UAL's Bulk Order of 270 Jets, JBLU's Expansion Update & More

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In the past week, United Airlines (UAL - Free Report) announced that it placed an order for buying 270 narrow-body jetliners. Notably the order, which includes Boeing and Airbus jets, is the largest-ever order in the history of this Chicago-based carrier.

JetBlue Airways (JBLU - Free Report) also grabbed headlines by virtue of its decision to start operating non-stop flights between Boise and the New York City. Notably, this seasonal service, which started operating from Jul 2, is the only non-stop flight connecting Boise and the Northeast. It is aimed at meeting the anticipated demand swell during summer.

Meanwhile, the European low-cost carrier Ryanair Holdings’ (RYAAY - Free Report) June traffic was impressive as wide-spread vaccinations in addition to the easing of restrictions in the EU led to an uptick in air-travel demand.

Recap of the Past Week’s Most Important Stories

1. In line with its objective to realize its post-COVID growth plan, United Airlines, which currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), placed an order to purchase 200 Boeing 737 MAX and 70 Airbus A321neo jets. The airline aims to replace the older, smaller mainline and regional jets with larger aircraft. United Airlines expects the newer aircraft, featuring more premium seats with larger overhead bins and seatback entertainment screens, to improve fuel efficiency by 11% as well as reduce carbon emission per seat by 17-20% from the older ones.

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2.With air-travel demand improving in the United States as more and more people are getting vaccinated every day, Allegiant Travel Company (ALGT - Free Report) announced that it intends to broaden its domestic network by adding three routes later this year. As part of this expansion drive, Allegiant announced that the new nonstop flights from the Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB) to Pittsburgh, PA, Nashville, TN and Concord, NC will take off in November 2021. Per the schedule, flights on the MLB-Pittsburgh route will operate from Nov 11 while non-stop flights connecting MLB with Nashville and Concord will take to the skies on Nov 18. Allegiant will operate flights on all the new routes twice a week.

3. Following JetBlue’s decision to launch flights to Boise, the site became the low-cost carrier’s first destination in the state of Idaho. Notably, flights on the new route connecting Boise Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport are operating four times a week through Labor Day this year. Notably, the same flights will return in the summer of 2022. Notably, JetBlue operates Boise flights using its Airbus A320 aircraft.

4. Reflecting improved air-travel demand, Ryanair Holdings’ June traffic jumped to 5.3 million guests in June from 0.4 million guests a year-ago. The carrier’s load factor (% of seats filled by passengers) in the month was 72%. Also, in the same period, Ryanair operated in excess of 38,000 flights.

Notably, Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary recently painted a rosy picture with respect to bookings following the onset of the summer holidaying spell. This was mentioned in the previous week’s writeup.

5. Alaska Air Group’s (ALK - Free Report) subsidiary Alaska Airlines announced a codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways, thereby expanding its partnership with the oneworld alliance member. This new agreement offers Alaska Airlines’ customers a wider connectivity to various locations in Qatar and other middle-eastern countries as well as in Africa and South Asia. With international travel demand gradually recovering as countries reopen their borders to vaccinated travelers, the codeshare agreement should help boost traffic for Alaska Airlines.


The following table shows the price movement of the major airline players over the past week and during the last six months.

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

The table above shows that most airline stocks have traded in the green in the past week leading the NYSE ARCA Airline Index to gain 1.5% to $100.14. Over the course of the past six months, the NYSE ARCA Airline Index has appreciated 22.4%.

What's Next in the Airline Space?

With air-travel demand continuing to move north, more updates on route additions by the airlines are expected in the coming days.

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