Delta Air Lines in technical downtrend; Continental expects merger to be approved in 4Q2010


US airline stocks slumped on Thursday (19-Aug-2010) after worldwide markets fell on disappointing US economic data. First-time jobless filings reached a nine-month record pushing the Dow (-1.8%) lower.

The AMEX Airline Index plummeted 3.8% as a result, despite a 1.3% decline in oil prices to USD74.43.

Delta Air Lines in technical downtrend

Delta Air Lines was one of the day’s biggest falls. According to SmarTrend, the carrier’s stock has been slowly declining over the past 10 sessions and is currently in a technical downtrend. Over the past 52 weeks, Delta’s stock price has ranged from a low of USD6.57 to a high of USD14.94. The carrier ended the day at USD10.78.

Continental expects merger to be approved in 4Q2010

Continental Airlines (-3.4%) announced it expects its merger with United Airlines (-4.0%) to receive regulatory and stockholder approval in 4Q2010, while the carrier expects to receive a single operating certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration at least a year after the legal merger.

US airline passenger revenue up 20%

The declines in airline stocks were despite the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) announcing during trading that passenger revenue rose 20% year-on-year in Jul-2010, the seventh consecutive month of growth. International passenger revenue rose 36%, led by a 52% surge in trans-Pacific markets. According to the industry trade organisation, passenger numbers on US airlines fell 1% during the month. Meanwhile, cargo traffic rose 19% in Jun-2010.

ATA also reported domestic passenger yield per RPM rose 13.1% year-on-year to USD 14.95 cents in Jul-2010. Details include:

  • Passenger yield per RPM:
    • Domestic: USD 14.95 cents +13.1% year-on-year;
    • Trans-Atlantic: USD 13.97 cents, +27.5%;
    • Latin America: USD 13.97 cents, +15.4%;
    • Asia Pacific: USD 13.42 cents, +40.1%.

See related CAPA Profile: Yields

Elsewhere, Expressjet (+0.2%) was the only carrier not to fall for the day. Republic Airways (-6.9%) and Alaska Air (-4.8%) were among the biggest falls.

North & South America selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 19-Aug-2010

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