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Morgan Stanley cuts Lufthansa rating; Finnair passenger numbers up 14.7%; Vueling gains

Lufthansa (-4.8%) slumped as European airline shares ended the session mixed again on Thursday (09-Dec-2010). The group was down after Morgan Stanley cut its rating of the carrier’s shares from "overweight" to "equal-weight". The analysts stated it sees few near-term catalysts to push the shares higher.

Morgan Stanley stated it expects European airlines to return to profitability within 12 to 18 months. The analysts added a number of carriers are trading at 25-65% discounts to prior peaks in 2007.

Also during trading, Lufthansa Group reported a 0.5 ppt year-on-year improvement in load factor for Nov-2010, to 75.8%. Results were as follows:

  • Lufthansa Passenger Airlines: 75.7%, +0.4 ppt;
  • SWISS: 79.3%, -1.1 ppts;
  • Austrian Airlines: 73.1%, +0.4 ppt;
  • bmi: 68.1%, +2.0 ppts.

Overall passenger numbers rose 6.9% for the month to 7.3 million.

Turkish Airlines (-2.7%) and easyJet (-1.5%) also declined for the day.

Finnair passenger numbers up 14.7%

Finnair (+2.8%) was among the day’s biggest gainers after reporting a 14.7% increase in passenger numbers for Nov-2010 to 580,500. This was fuelled by a 38.5% rise in domestic passengers numbers to 131,900. 

However, load factor was down 2.2 ppts for the month to 71.1%, as domestic load factor declined 7.1 ppts to 50.3%. Cargo volumes were up 45.8% to 11,945 tonnes.

See related CAPA Profile: Traffic and Capacity

Vueling load factor up 1.6 ppts

Vueling (+2.3%) also gained for Thursday after reporting a 1.6 ppt rise in load factor for Nov-2010 to 69.2%. The result came as traffic (RPKs) rose 2.5% on stable capacity (ASKs). Passenger numbers were up 4.4% to 777,000.

Elsewhere, Eurofly (+7.0%) and Aer Lingus (+6.0%) were the biggest gainers for the session. 

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 09-Dec-2010