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Alaska Air Group Inc. (ALK - Free Report) has reported traffic numbers for August. Following the traffic release, shares of the company inched up 1.7% to $75.59 at the close of business on Sep 11. Previously, the stock was hurt by the back-to-back impact of Harvey and Irma. However, Irma’s weaker- than-expected impact on Florida and its downgrade to a category 4, buoyed airline stocks, and Alaska Air Group was no exception.

Traffic, measured in revenue passenger miles (RPMs), increased 5.8% to 4.78 billion from 4.52 billion recorded a year ago. On a year-over-year basis, consolidated capacity (or available seat miles/ASMs) rose 5.5% to 5.55 billion. Also, the load factor or percentage of seats filled by passengers inched up to 86.2% from 85.8% recorded in August 2016, as traffic growth exceeded capacity expansion.

At the end of the first eight months of 2017, Alaska Air Group generated RPMs of 34.91 billion (up 6.3% year over year) and ASMs of 41.15 billion (up 5.5% year over year). Load factor stood at 84.8%, compared with 84.2% in the first eight months last year.

The carrier was also in the news recently when it announced a customer-friendly deal with Singapore Airlines. The two will form a codeshare agreement to allow sharing of flights, i.e., a passenger can avail any flight operated by either companies covered under the agreement, irrespective of the flight number. (read more: Alaska Air Group Arm-Singapore Airlines Deal to Aid Flyers).

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Alaska Air Group currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Some better-ranked stocks in airline space are Deutsche Lufthansa AG (DLAKY - Free Report) , Air France-KLM SA (AFLYY - Free Report) and SkyWest, Inc. (SKYW - Free Report) . While Deutsche Lufthansa sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Air France-KLM and SkyWest carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here

Shares of Deutsche Lufthansa and Air France-KLM have soared more than 100% in a year, while SkyWest shares have surged 33.6% over the same time frame.

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