President elect sells part of LAN stake; yields for US carriers mixed in Jan-2010

The majority of North and South American carriers’ stocks rose slightly on Monday (22-Feb-2010). The AMEX Airline Index (+0.1%) ended trading up, despite another rise in oil prices (+0.4%), to USD80.16.

In the wider market, the Dow (-0.2%) ended trading lower as investors expressed concern over the economic recovery ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke’s congressional testimony.

Air Transport Association reports mixed yield results for Jan-2010

Pushing US airline shares higher, the Air Transport Association of America’s (ATA) reported during trading member airlines experienced a 1.1% year-on-year increase in domestic yield in Jan-2010 to USD14.15 cents, and a 4.4% increase in Trans-Atlantic yields, to USD12.50 cents. However, Latin America yields fell 5.1% year-on-year to USD14.20 cents, while Asia Pacific yields were down 1.6%, to USD11.96 cents.

BTS reports 3.3% decline in employment levels for Dec-2009

The US Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) also reported US passenger airline employment levels fell 3.3% year-on-year in Dec-2009 – representing the 18th consecutive decline in full time equivalent employee (FTE) levels. Network airline employment fell 2.5%, regional airline employment fell 8.9% and LCC employment was stable.

According to BTS, American Airlines employed the largest number of full time equivalent employees among the network carriers in Dec-2009, at 66,700 employees. However, this was a decline of 4.9% year-on-year. American was followed by Delta Air Lines, which employed 49,000 over the month, an increase of 7.8% year-on-year, while United Airlines employed 43,900 staff, down 4.0%. 

See related article: US LCC employment levels stable, but overall airline employment falls to 17 year low: LCC share wrap

President elect sells part of LAN stake to majority shareholder

LAN (+0.8%) majority shareholder, the Cueto family, agreed to purchase an 8.6% stake the carrier, or 29 million shares, through its investment vehicle, Costa Verde Aeronautica SA, from President elect, Sebatian Pinera’s holding companies, Axxion SA and Inversiones Santa Cecilia SA for USD17.23 each, for a total of USD500 million. Costa Verde now owns a 31.75% stake in the carrier. Mr Pinera had offered the Cuetos a 21% stake in the carrier for USD1.2 billion. Costa Verde had first right to the shares before making them available to other investors between now and 09-Mar-2010.

Meanwhile, ExpressJet (+4.4%) and Hawaiian Airlines (+2.0%) were the day’s biggest gainers, while TAM (-2.7%) and Alaska Air (-2.6%) fell.

Other highlights in today’s America Airline Daily include:

North & South America selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 22-Feb-2010