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Allegiant (ALGT) Posts Impressive December Traffic Figures

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Allegiant Travel Company (ALGT - Free Report) reported impressive traffic numbers for December as air-travel demand in the United States has not been much affected by the Omicron variant. With more Americans getting vaccinated, the scenario looks positive on a year-over-year and year-over-two-year basis.

Scheduled traffic (measured in revenue passenger miles) surged 100.5% from December 2020 levels. Capacity (measured in available seat miles) for scheduled service increased 37.9% from December 2020 reading. With the traffic surge outweighing capacity expansion, the load factor (% of seats filled by passengers) in December expanded 24.6 points to 78.8% from the year-ago period’s levels. For the total system (including scheduled service and fixed fee contract), Allegiant carried 95.4% more passengers in December 2021 from the year-ago period’s level.

Compared with December 2019 levels (pre-COVID), scheduled traffic and capacity surged 5.2% and 10.3%, respectively. The load factor tanked 3.8 points to 78.8% as the increase in traffic was lower than capacity expansion. For the total system, the airline carried 0.7% more passengers in December 2021 from December 2019 levels.

Allegiant is witnessing a fall in fuel cost per gallon on a month-over-month basis (primarily due to anxiety over the omicron variant and reductions in fuel consumption). Fuel price per gallon in December is estimated to have been $2.37 compared with $2.56 in November.

For the December-end quarter, the adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to be roughly at 19% (including approximately $23 million of irregular operations costs incurred during the quarter). Fuel price per gallon for the December quarter and full-year 2021 is estimated to be at $2.48 and $2.15, respectively.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Allegiant currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1(Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Zacks Transportation sector are J.B. Hunt Transport Services (JBHT - Free Report) , FedEx Corporation (FDX - Free Report) and Schneider National (SNDR - Free Report) .

The long-term expected earnings per share (three to five years) growth rate for J.B. Hunt is pegged at 15%. JBHT is benefiting from strong performances across all its segments. The Dedicated Contract Services (DCS) unit is being aided by fleet-productivity improvement and a rise in average revenue-producing trucks. The Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS) unit is gaining from a favorable customer freight mix as well as higher contractual and spot rates.

JBHT’s measures to reward its shareholders are encouraging. Driven by the tailwinds, the stock has increased 33.7% in the past year. J.B. Hunt currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

The long-term expected earnings per share (three to five years) growth rate for FedEx is pegged at 12%. FDX is benefitting from a surge in e-commerce demand amid the pandemic.

FDX exited first-quarter fiscal 2022 with cash and equivalents of $6,853 million, much higher than its current debt of $125 million. Driven by the tailwinds, the stock has moved up 3.2% in the past month. FedEx currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.

The long-term expected earnings per share (three to five years) growth rate for Schneider is pegged at 20.7%. SNDR benefits from strong performance in the Intermodal and Logistics units.

SNDR’s third-quarter cash balance is also encouraging. Driven by the tailwinds, the stock has moved up 14.9% in the past year. Schneider currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.