In the past week, premier trade organization Airlines for America (‘A4A’) issued a bright forecast for U.S. carriers. It is expected that U.S. airlines will make hay in the Labor Day holiday period (Aug 29 – Sep 4) owing to increased travel demand and affordable air fares.
Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL - Free Report) also grabbed headlines by virtue of its decision to broaden the trans-Atlantic network for next year’s summer. Meanwhile, Ryanair Holdings plc (RYAAY - Free Report) took a giant stride toward ending its labor unrest when the company inked deals with the Italian and Irish pilots.
United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL - Free Report) too featured in the headlines, when it announced the decision that its shares would be traded in the Nasdaq Global Select Market from Sep 7.
(Read the last Airline Stock Roundup for Aug 22, 2018)
Recap of the Past Week’s Most Important Stories
1. As part of its decision to launch additional routes next year, Delta increased the frequency of its service connecting Los Angeles to Amsterdam and Paris. Notably, Delta is the second major U.S. carrier to announce changes in its international routes over the last few days. In a bid to boost its profitability in the current scenario of rising oil prices, American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL - Free Report) also announced certain route changes. (read more: Delta to Change Routes Under Trans-Atlantic Network Expansion).
Delta currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
2. Per Reuters, Ryanair has finally given in to the Irish pilots’ demand, reaching an agreement with the pilots’ union (Fórsa) on Aug 23, following a 22-hour discussion (read more: Ryanair Ends Deadlock, Inks Labor Deal With Irish Pilots).
In another development toward ending its labor unrest, Ryanair has inked a deal with its Italian pilots.
3. According to the forecast put forward by A4A, approximately 16.5 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines during the Labor Day holiday period this year compared with 16 million people who chose to travel by air in the same period last year. The forecast translates into 2.36 million fliers per day during the abovementioned period.
Moreover, Aug 31 is likely to be the busiest day for carriers in the seven-day period, with 2.76 million people expected to take to the skies. To meet the surge in travel demand, U.S. carriers are increasing the number of available seats by 92,000 per day.
4. In a bid to combat rising fuel costs, JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU - Free Report) increased fees for checked bags and ticket changes. The low-cost carrier has reportedly decided to charge $30 for the first checked bag from $25. Fees for the second and third checked bags have also been increased. We expect other airlines to follow suite.
5 United Continental’s has decided to transfer its stock exchange listing to The Nasdaq Global Select Market from The New York Stock Exchange. The move, which will be effective Sep 7, is in line with the company’s efforts to check costs.
The following table shows the price movement of the major airline players over the last week and during the past six months.
Last 6 months
The table above shows that most airline stocks traded in the green over the last week leading to a 1.2% increase in the NYSE ARCA Airline Index. Over the course of six months, the sector tracker has decreased 8.4% due to multiple headwinds like high fuel costs. Shares of GOL Linhas (GOL - Free Report) declined the most (55.8%) in the period.
What's Next in the Airline Space?
Investors will look forward to August traffic reports from the likes of Delta in the coming days.
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