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MarketWatch First Take: American Airlines results lift United, Delta amid strengthening travel demand

Shares of United Airlines and Delta Air Lines were lifted by strong results from American Airlines on Thursday.

The results provide another boost to the airline industry in its recovery from a turbulent period of COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

American Airlines Group Inc.’s
AAL,
-3.11%

third-quarter revenue was up 13% from the same period in 2019, before the pandemic hit, despite the carrier flying 9.6% less capacity. “Demand remains strong and it’s clear that customers in the U.S. and other parts of the world continue to value air travel and the ability to reconnect post-pandemic,” said American’s CEO Robert Isom, in a statement.

See Now: American Airlines shares jump on 3Q results, robust guidance

After gaining in premarket trading, the carrier’s stock declined 2.36% shortly after market open, compared with the S&P 500 Index’s
SPX,
+0.84%

rise of 0.49% and U.S. Global Jets
JETS,
+0.48%

ETF’s gain of 0.84%.

American Airlines’ results continue the airline industry’s positive run of results this earnings season. Shares of United Airlines Holdings Inc.
UAL,
+1.60%
,
which reported better-than-expected third-quarter results and gave an upbeat forecast earlier this week, were up 2.1% on Thursday.

Delta Air Lines Inc.
DAL,
+1.28%

 kicked off the sector’s reporting season last week, with the carrier reporting revenue significantly above the same period in 2019. The carrier also gave a better-than-expected fourth-quarter outlook. Delta shares rose 0.97% on Thursday.

See Now: Alaska Air’s 3Q results boosted by ‘busiest travel season in two years’

Shares of JetBlue Airways Corp.
JBLU,
+2.04%
,
which reports its third-quarter numbers on Oct. 25., rose 1.31% on Thursday.

Alaska Air Group Inc.
ALK,
-4.30%

also reported third-quarter results before market open on Thursday, boosted by what the carrier’s CEO described as the busiest travel season in two years. The company’s third-quarter revenue was $2.828 billion, compared with $1.953 billion in the same period last year. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had projected sales of $2.819 billion. 

However, after gaining pre-market, the company’s stock fell 4.01% on Thursday. Alaska Air earned 31 cents a share on net income of $40 million, compared with earnings of $1.53 a share on net income of $194 million in the prior year’s quarter. Excluding items, the carrier earned $2.53 a share on net income of $325 million, compared with earnings of $1.47 a share and net income of $187 million in the year ago quarter. Analysts were looking for earnings of $2.39 a share and net income of $303 million, according to FactSet data.  

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