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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Southwest Airlines, United Continental, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and JetBlue Airways

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 1, 2019 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Southwest Airlines (LUV - Free Report) , United Continental Holdings (UAL - Free Report) , Delta Air Lines (DAL - Free Report) , American Airlines (AAL - Free Report) and JetBlue Airways (JBLU - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Airline Stock Roundup: LUV, UAL, DAL & More

In the past week, Southwest Airlines trimmed its first-quarter projection for operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM: a key measure of unit revenues) due to the 35-day partial U.S. government shutdown. On an encouraging note, the carrier finally gained approval to fly to Hawaii. The government shutdown had delayed the approval process.

With the Olympics to be held in Tokyo next year, leading U.S. carriers like United Airlines — the wholly owned subsidiary of United Continental Holdings, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines are seeking approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to fly to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. An update pertaining to JetBlue Airways’ efforts to strengthen its Boston footprint was also available in the past week.

(Read the last Airline Stock Roundup for Feb 20, 2019)

Recap of the Past Week’s Most Important Stories

1. Southwest Airlines anticipates first-quarter 2019 revenues to be adversely impacted to the tune of $60 million due to the government shutdown. Previously, the airline predicted revenues to decline by $10-$15 million. As a result of weak bookings, the airline now forecasts RASM to increase in the range of 3-4% compared with a rise of 4-5% expected earlier. (Read more: Southwest Shares Decline on Dull Q1 Unit Revenue View).

Furthermore, Southwest Airlines took a major step toward fulfilling its 2019 growth plans when it received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly to the Hawaiian Islands. Tickets on the routes will be shortly available. Once the company commences operations to the islands, competition will heat up.

Southwest Airlines carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

2. United Airlines filed an application with the DOT to operate daily non-stop flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport from six U.S. international airports. In the summer of 2020, United Airlines plans to commence operations to Haneda after the slots are awarded from its hubs at Newark Liberty, Chicago O'Hare, Washington Dulles, Los Angeles International, Houston George Bush and Guam (read more: United Airlines Looking to Expand Operations to Haneda Airport).

3. In a bid to strengthen its presence in Boston, JetBlue announced that it will add more flights connecting Logan International Airport to its 12 existing routes, extending along the eastern half of the United States. Notably, JetBlue will start adding the flights that will operate on a daily basis from this summer.

Additionally, this low-cost carrier aims to start offering hourly service to two key northeast markets — Washington, D.C. and the New York Metro Area — from Boston in order to meet its target of 200 daily departures.

4. According to International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) 2018 safety-related data in the aviation space, rate for all accidents (accidents per 1 million flights) increased on a year-over-year basis. The rate for such accidents was 1.35 (one accident for every 740,000 flights) compared with 2017 figure of 1.11. The comparable figure for 2013-2017 period was 1.79. Moreover, the rate for major jet accidents (jet hull losses per 1 million flights) in 2018 was 0.19 (one major accident for every 5.4 million flights). The figure compared favorably with 0.29 recorded in the 2013-2017 period. The comparable figure was 0.12.

Additionally, in 2018 there were 11 fatal accidents with 523 fatalities related to passengers/ crew. In the 2013-2017 period, there was an average of 8.8 fatal accidents, with approximately 234 fatalities per year. In 2017, the industry experienced a record low of 6 fatal accidents, with 19 fatalities. Moreover, one accident in 2017 resulted in the deaths of 35 persons on the ground.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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