United Continental Holding CEO states US airlines expected to post USD4bn in profits this year

North and South American airline stocks mostly made minor gains on Wednesday (17-Nov-2010) after United Continental Holdings (+0.6%) Chairman Glenn Tilton stated US airlines are projected to post USD4 billion in profits in 2010. Mr Tilton added that airlines "have come a long way" since the early and middle part of the past decade when United and other major carriers entered bankruptcy protection.

Mr Tilton also stated the United Continental balance sheet needs a "tremendous amount of deleveraging" and that it may be time to focus on making balance sheets more resilient. The carrier has around USD9 billion in cash. He added that the industry is now focusing on making itself more attractive for long-term investment.

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Investors expect United Continental and Delta to continue rally

United Continental and Delta Air Lines’ (+0.5%) options have risen to at least triple the four week average as investors expect the stocks to continue their rallies this year. Delta’s stock has risen 16% this year, while United Contential’s stock has more than doubled.

JetBlue and American Airlines expand codeshare agreement

JetBlue Airways (+1.1%) rose while American Airlines (-0.6%) declined for the day. The two announced during trading the launch of a reciprocal frequent flyer agreement, which allows members of the American Airlines AAdvantage programme and JetBlue's TrueBlue programme to earn AAdvantage miles or TrueBlue points in select markets. In addition, the commercial agreement announced in Mar-2010 has been expanded to include one new American Airlines international market and nine new JetBlue domestic markets. The new JetBlue domestic markets include Boston to Baltimore, Charlotte, Newark (from May-2011), Orlando, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, Washington Reagan and Phoenix from 10-Dec-2010, while the new American Airlines market is New York JFK-Budapest from Apr-2011.

See related CAPA Profile: Codesharing and Interlining

Elsewhere, Hawaiian Airlines (+3.9%) and Allegiant (+3.1%) rebounded from slumps the day prior, while Alaska Air (-2.3%) and WestJet (-1.0%) erased gains from the day prior. 

North & South America selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 17-Nov-2010