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

US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported that US LCCs employed the same number of workers in Dec-2009 as in Dec-2008, with four LCCs reporting year-on-year full-time equivalent employee (FTE) increases: Allegiant Air (+16.1%), Virgin America (+12.9%), AirTran Airways (+4.7%) and JetBlue Airways (+4.6%).

US scheduled passenger airlines employed 3.3% fewer workers in the month, for the 18th consecutive monthly reduction in FTE levels, and putting the figure at a 17-year low.

Southwest, Spirit and Frontier reported year-to-year FTE decreases. The six LCCs reporting employment data in both 2005 and 2009 employed 14.2% more FTEs in Dec-2009 than in Dec-2005, led by Allegiant with a 182% increase. Spirit reported the only four-year decrease within the LCC group, down 6.8%. 

Vietjet AirAsia to become operational in May-2010

In the Asia Pacific region, AirAsia’s (+3.6%) newest JV partner, Vietjet AirAsia, is reportedly expected to become operational in May-2010, with procedures for the purchase completed and the acquisition of a 30% stake in VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Co (VietJet Air) by AirAsia approved by Vietnam's Ministry of Transport on 09-Feb-2010.

Also in the Asia Pacific region, Virgin Blue’s shares gained 4.0%, on the same day the International Air Services Commission confirmed it received an application from V Australia seeking to transfer to Pacific Blue Australia 360 weekly seats previously allocated from Pacific Blue to V Australia, for use in the Australia-Fiji market.

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Selected LCCs daily share price movements (% change): 22-Feb-2010