United awards ExpressJet regional contract; AMEX Airline Index gains again

Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke says that the US economy will continue to grow in 2010, ensuring the US Dollar remains “firm”. Mr Bernanke added the central bank would continue to watch the current slide of the US Dollar, stating the key federal funds target rate is expected to stay at record lows for “some time” due to the still-fragile status of the economy.

The improvement in airline stock prices came despite an increase in oil prices (+3.3%), which also gained on Monday, to USD78.90 a barrel.

United awards ExpressJet United Express contract

United Airlines (+3.6%) announced ExpressJet (+41.0%) will operate 22 ERJ-145 aircraft under the United Express brand from 01-May-2010. The operations will replace operations previously carried out by other United Express partner carriers whose contracts have expired.

United stated ExpressJet offered the carrier the “most competitive bid, enabling us to continue to operate efficiently in this difficult environment”. The two have worked together previously, with United providing ExpressJet with short term flying contracts.

UPS forecasts improved shippings during peak holiday period

UPS (+1.9%) forecast it will move 400 million packages during the peak holiday season, “up slightly” year-on-year. The freight carrier added it believes 21-Dec-2009 will be its busiest day, with 22 million shipments.

Thompson Davis & Co stated the comments potentially signal an improvement in UPS’s 4Q2009 outlook. The analysts stated they expect domestic volume for the carrier to drop 2% to 3% for the quarter, based on executive comments. As a result, Thompson Davis & Co rates UPS’s stock as ‘Buy’.

Delta Air Lines lease at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport approved

Delta Air Lines (+2.4%) meanwhile had its seven-year extension of its longstanding lease with Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport approved by the Atlanta City Council during trading. The extension was approved despite concerns from the FAA that it would apply anticompetitive provisions, making it more difficult for other carriers to launch operations or expand at the airport.

US Airways (+5.0%), COntinental (+4.1%) and Republic (+4.0%) had good gains on the day, well ahead of the Dow's 1.3% improvement.

Meanwhile, Copa Airlines (-1.5%) and WestJet (-0.7%) were the only carriers to see stock prices slip during trading.

North & South America selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 16-Nov-09