US Airways loses USD30 million in sales from storms

North and South American carriers’ stocks were mixed on Wednesday (03-Mar-2010), on varied traffic results from US carriers. Stocks also tended to move with the wider market, with the Dow (-0.9%) slipping, after the US Federal Reserve stated loan demand was still weak. However, losses were trimmed by the release of Greece’s new austerity measures to overcome its debt issues and a smaller than expected drop in private sector job losses for Feb-2010.

Also pushing airline stocks down was a 1.5% gain in oil prices, to back above the USD80 mark, closing at USD80.87. The AMEX Airline Index ended trading flat.

US Airways losses USD30 million in sales from storms

US Airways (-2.7%) took the day’s biggest fall after claiming the severe winter storms in Feb-2010 cost the carrier USD30 million in lost sales. As a result of the storms, US Airways was forced to cancel thousands of services and suspended operations at three of its hubs for six days.

See related report: USD150 million impact on US airlines from winter storms

The carrier also fell on news analysts at Jesup & Lamont downgraded the carrier’s rating from ‘Buy’ to ‘Hold’, after the stock went past its USD7.00 price target. The analysts also lowered its full year earnings per share (EPS) estimate for the airline from USD0.70 to USD0.51, based on its losses during the storms.

US Airways reported during trading a 0.7 ppt year-on-year improvement in consolidated load factor for Feb-2010, to 77.2%, as a 4.8% decline in traffic (RPMs) outweighed the 5.6% reduction in capacity (ASMs).

American Airlines reports improved load factor, but traffic still down

Conversely, American Airlines (+1.4%) gained after reporting a 1.5 ppt year-on-year increase in load factor for Feb-2010, to 75.5%, as traffic fell only 2.2%. compared to a 4.2% reduction in capacity. American boarded 6.0 million passengers over the month, a 4.1% decline.

Also reporting traffic results for Feb-2010 during trading were LCCs WestJet (-1.1%), Allegiant (-0.8%) and AirTran (+0.4%). See related article: Allegiant, AirTran & WestJet increase capacity in Feb-2010/1Q2010; WestJet upgrades 1Q RASM forecast

United Airlines (+2.1%) was meanwhile one of the day’s best movers.

LAN down marginally after resuming some Santiago services

LAN (-0.1%) declined again on Wednesday, after Chile’s National Emergency Office (Onemi) announced 60% of national flights are operating at Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez Airport, with LAN operating 20% of its usual services from the airport. Delta Air Lines (+1.2%) will reportedly resume daily Atlanta-Santiago service on 04-Mar-2010.

Also available in today's America Airline Daily:

North & South America selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 03-Mar-2010