Three LCCs rank in the Top 5 in the US Airline Quality Rating: LCC share wrap

Airline Quality Rating (AQR) revealed, for the second consecutive year, the performance of the leading US carriers improved in 2009, for the third best overall score in the 19 years researchers have tracked the performance of airlines.

The Rating ranked the nation's leading 18 airlines, with Air Tran (second), JetBlue (third) and Southwest (fifth) among the Top 5 carriers, with Hawaiian and Northwest ranking second and fourth, respectively. Shares in the three LCCs were up 3.6%, 0.7% and 0.4% yesterday, with shares in Allegiant (not ranked) up 3.6%.

See full report: US airline service quality survey rises. But what’s behind the numbers?

The rankings also revealed that of the 17 carriers rated in both 2008 and 2009, all but Alaska Airlines has improved AQR scores for 2009. The industry improved in three of the four major elements of the AQR: on-time performance, baggage handling and customer complaints, with denied boardings the only element where the performance declined.

Also in the US market, Republic Airways Holdings is set to announce its new brand on 13-Apr-2010, when it unveils what will replace the Midwest and Frontier airlines brands. There have been protests in Denver to 'save the animals', part of Frontier’s personality. Much is being read into the fact that Republic CEO, Bryan Bedford, will be making the announcement from Milwaukee, but the carrier will also have a press conference in Denver.

Frontier is seen as the stronger brand, but Midwest is in a pitched battle for market share having virtually owned the Milwaukee space since its inception. However, its financial troubles have forced it to cede share to AirTran, which now has nearly 30% market share.

Selected LCCs daily share price movements (% change): 12-Apr-2010