European airlines gain, British Airways, Air France-KLM, Iberia and Lufthansa up


Shares in British Airways and Air France-KLM moved strongly upward, as UBS upgraded the two carriers yesterday.

UBS upgraded its rating on BA from 'neutral' to 'buy' yesterday, while the broker raised Air France-KLM from 'sell' to 'buy'. Shares in BA surged 6.6%, while Air France-KLM gained 4.4%.

Shares in Iberia were up 4.0%, despite a price target cut by UBS from EUR2.50 to EUR2.10. The broker also reduced Lufthansa's price target from EUR16 to EUR14.5. Shares in the German carrier jumped 3.1% yesterday.

bmibaby, a subsidiary of the BMI Group owned by Lufthansa, announced a major restructuring programme yesterday, whereby the carrier will focus its activities and efforts on routes where there are "clear indications and prospects for future growth and development".

The carrier plans to reduce its fleet from 22 to 17 aircraft in 2010 and add to the number of destinations it will serve from East Midlands Airport. 54 pilot and 82 cabin crew positions at Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff Airports are at risk of redundancy, plus an additional 22 management and support positions at bmibaby's head office facility and at the airport bases. bmibaby has commenced discussions with staff and union representatives. The carrier employs a total of 633 staff.

Lufthansa took BMI off the market earlier in the week, stating it is no longer in talks with buyers after an acceptable sale price was not achieved, with plans to concentrate instead on turning around the loss-making carrier.

Meanwhile, Thomas Cook Group led the way up, with a 7.4% gain, as Aeroflot dipped 3.3% yesterday.

Elsewhere, shares in Aer Lingus were up (+5.5%), SAS closed higher (+1.4%), while Finnair dipped (-1.1% and Austrian lost (-2.5%).

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 04-Nov-09

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