Delta Air Lines reports less impressive traffic results than Continental; Republic down

The majority of North and South American carriers’ stocks rebounded again on Thursday (07-Jan-2010), as oil prices (-0.6%) fell for the first time in ten days, to USD82.66. The AMEX Airline Index made gains as a result, up 1.5%. Airline stocks were also assisted by a slight gain in the Dow (+0.3).

Delta makes gains despite less than impressive traffic results

Delta Air Lines (+4.8%) had the greatest gain at the end of trading, despite traffic results being not quite as impressive as Continental (+4.0%) earlier this week, which was still making gains on Thursday. Delta reported a 0.4 ppt year-on-year increase in load factor for Dec-2009, to 81.2%, as capacity (ASM) reductions, down 8.0%, outweighed the fall in traffic (RPMs), down 7.5%. However, passenger numbers were down 7.5%, to 12.5 million.

For 2009, load factor was down 0.4 ppts, to 82.0%, as traffic fell 6.8% and capacity was reduced by 6.4%. Passenger numbers were also down, dropping 6.2%, to 161 million.

Republic down despite improved load factor

Republic Airways (-2.3%) meanwhile made the largest fall yesterday, despite reporting improved load factor results for Dec-2009 and the full year of 2009, following the acquisition of Frontier Airlines and Midwest Airlines, in Oct-2009 and Aug-2009, respectively. The carrier reported a 4.6 ppt year-on-year increase in load factor for Dec-2009, to 75.3%, and a 1.8 ppt gain in load factor for 2009, to 75.2%.

For Dec-2009, traffic rose 112.4%, as capacity was increased 112.4%, as a result of the acquisitions. Passenger numbers were up 68.1%, to 2,5 million. For the full year, traffic was up 33.0%, as capacity was increased 29.9%. Passenger numbers were uo 22.2% as a result, to 23.1 million.

Jesup Lamont lowers US Airways’ loss estimate

In an analyst note, Jesup Lamont is lowering US Airways' (+3.0%) expected fourth quarter loss to USD0.52 per share compared to a USD1.93 loss last year and a consensus estimate of USD0.76. The move came after the airline reported its Dec-2009 stats with traffic declining faster than capacity: -2.4% vs -3.6%, respectively. It also reported unit revenue declined 1% for the month. 

US airlines report record on-time performance

US largest airlines set a single-month record in Nov-2009 for on-time performance for the nearly 15 years the Department of Transportation (DOT) has collected comparable data. They also set a record for the lowest rate of mishandled baggage in a single month since these data were first collected in Sep-1987.

According to information filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the 19 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 88.6% in Nov-2009, higher than both Nov-2008’s 83.3% and Oct-2009’s 77.3%.  Since comparable data were first collected in Jan-1995, the previous high on-time mark for reporting carriers was 88.0% in Sep-2002.

North & South America selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 07-Jan-2010