Norwegian soars on strong traffic results, Virgin gains on bad Qantas press

Norwegian (+9.8%), Cimber Sterling (+4.6) and Virgin Blue (+4.5) were the strongest gainers on Friday, on a day’s trade which saw most major international indices strengthen. Major markets were buoyed by encouraging job growth figures out of the US, where the Dow closed at fresh two-year highs.

Norwegian carries 21% more pax in Oct-2010

Oslo-based LCC Norwegian Air Shuttle gained 9.8% on the release of its Oct-2010 traffic figures. The airline carried 1.27 million passengers in the month, a 21% year-on-year increase. Load factor increased 1 ppt to 79%. Yield, however, fell 10% to EUR7.05 cents and RASK was down 8% to EUR5.57 cents.

CEO, Bjørn Kjos, stated, ”we are very satisfied with yet another month with strong passenger growth. We managed to increase the load factor, despite larger aircraft and 1,700 more departures than the same month previous years.”

Despite the poor results on the yield front, the stock closed at two-month highs of NOK98.50. Norway’s OBX Index lost 0.2%.

Also in the Nordic region, Denmark’s Cimber Sterling finished up 4.6% on Friday.

Virgin gains on Qantas pains

Virgin Blue gained 4.5% in Sydney, as rival Qantas was hit with a wave of poor press and questions of safety on Friday following two mid-air engine failures last week.

See related report: Qantas safety incidents: Investors focus on the fundamentals

In other Virgin Blue news, Virgin Atlantic rejected recent speculation that it is looking to more closely ally with Virgin Blue, after it was reported Virgin Blue was looking for a partner to cover gaps in its Asian network. Virgin Atlantic CEO Steve Ridgway met with Virgin Blue CEO John Borghetti, but Ridgway stated Virgin Atlantic is satisfied with the current arrangements between the airlines, which includes code-sharing.

Also of benefit to Virgin, the Australian dollar continued its surge and passed parity with the US dollar last week. The Aussie currently buys USD1.0113.

Jazeera dominates Kuwait skies

Jazeera (+2.0%) gained on Friday ahead of its operational performance release over the weekend. The Kuwaiti LCC announced it has a leading market share among all Kuwaiti airlines on the majority of the routes it serves, with the exception of Jeddah and Riyadh.

Vueling, Ryanair among losers as PIIGS woes linger

While major European indices gained on Friday, peripheral markets, including Ireland and Spain, posted sharp losses, with banking sectors coming under selling pressure. The Bank of Spain on Friday stated the economy stagnated in the third quarter.

Vueling (-3.6%) and Ryanair (-1.1%) fell during trade.

Selected LCCs daily share price movements (% change): 05-Nov-2010