JetBlue and Southwest advance on slower growth plans. AirTran soars


Shares in JetBlue and Southwest Airlines rose 2.7% and 1% yesterday, respectively, as both airlines outlined plans to slow their future growth rates.

JetBlue confirmed it would take delivery of four A320s in 2011, instead of eight previously planned, while it has also deferred two A320 deliveries in 2012. The airline will take delivery of the six A320s planned for 2010/2011 in 2015 instead. The airline will take one extra Embraer 190 in 2011, bringing the total to five, but will defer deliveries of seven E190s in 2012, five in 2013 and 2014 and two in 2015 and 2016.

Southwest Airlines meanwhile confirmed it has just one new market planned for 2010 - Panama City, Florida. CFO, Laura Wright, stated, “we're just in a period where our focus right now is on improving our profitability and not growing the fleet", which is to stay stable at around 530 aircraft this year.

Southwest stated 1Q2010 capacity would be down 6-7%, with March bookings looking “very strong”. A “modest” rise in passengers revenue is expected.

AirTran’s shares soared 8.5% yesterday as investors welcomed the airline’s outlook for 2010. See related report: AirTran outlook - and updates on the Milwaukee battleground

Selected LCCs daily share price movements (% change): 09-Mar-2010

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