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Airline Stock Roundup: American Airlines, JetBlue Commence Flights to Havana; Lufthansa in Focus

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 The past week saw U.S. based carriers like American Airlines Group (AAL - Free Report) , JetBlue Airways (JBLU - Free Report) and United Continental Holdings (UAL - Free Report) commencing regularly scheduled commercial flights to Havana after more than five decades.

Germany’s Lufthansa (DLAKY - Free Report) also grabbed headlines, albeit for the wrong reasons. The carrier’s operations are hampered significantly due to strikes by its pilots. The strikes, which have been ongoing for the past few days, are estimated to have hurt revenues to the tune of 10-15 million euros on a daily basis.

Pilots at Delta Air Lines (DAL - Free Report) , who are currently in the process of voting on a new labor deal, are apparently against the usage of big regional jets. The past week also saw United Continental’s subsidiary, United Airlines, opening a new club at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Transportation - Airline Industry Price Index


Transportation - Airline Industry Price Index

(Read the last Airline Stock Roundup for Nov 23, 2016).

Recap of the Past Week’s Most Important Stories

1. American Airlines was the first U.S. carrier to operate a commercial scheduled flight to the Cuban capital in more than five decades. JetBlue and United Continental were the other carriers to start such services. The American Airlines flight was from Miami, while the JetBlue flight took off from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The United Continental flight departed from Newark Liberty International Airport (Read more: U.S. Air Carriers Bound for Cuba Amid Uncertainty).

2. According to a report published on Reuters, the pilots of Atlanta, GA-based Delta are unlikely to alter the present rules and fly planes exceeding a certain weight on regional routes (Read more: Big Regional Jets: Still a No for Delta Pilots?). The airline behemoth was also in the news when it imposed a life-time ban on an abusive passenger on one of its flights. The carrier apologized to the other passengers on the flight for the inconvenience.

3. In a customer-friendly move, United Airlines launched a new club at LAX. The latest “United Club” is part of the company’s $573 million project to revamp its customer-facing spaces in Terminal 7 and Concourse 8 at the airport (Read more: United Continental Inaugurates United Club in Los Angeles).

4. Labor troubles continued to hurt operations at Lufthansa with its pilots on strike over pay-related matters. The ongoing strike, the 15th since early 2014, has significantly hurt operations, causing the carrier to cancel multiple flights each day. This has caused untold harassments, misery to its passengers of this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

5. In its first significant use of public cloud technology, American Airlines inked a cloud computing related deal with International Business Machines Corporation. According to the deal, the carrier can utilize the IBM Cloud for building new cloud-based applications. Going forward, IBM’s analytics services will also be accessible to American Airlines as it aims to improve technology efficiency and flexibility. The two companies have a long-standing relationship and the latest deal further cements their ties.


The following table shows the price movement of the major airline players over the past week and during the last 6 months. 


Past Week

Last 6 months

















































The table above shows that majority of the airline stocks traded in the red over the past week leading to the NYSE ARCA Airline index dropping, albeit marginally, to $105.71. Shares of GOL Linhas depreciated the most (4.54%). Over the course of six months, the NYSE ARCA Airline index appreciated 26.2%.

What's Next in the Airline Space?

We expect carriers like Delta and Alaska Air Group (ALK - Free Report) to report their November traffic numbers in the coming days. Further updates on the proposed takeover of Virgin America by Alaska Air Group are also keenly awaited. Focus will also remain on the investor day presentation of Hawaiian Holdings (HA - Free Report) on Dec 5.

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