It is a well-documented fact that air travel demand has bounced back very strongly from the pandemic lows. Driven by the buoyant passenger volumes in the current summer season, which has been the busiest one ever, the upcoming Labor Day holiday period is expected to be a very busy one for U.S. airlines.
The bullish expectation of the Transportation Security Administration or TSA pertaining to traffic volumes during the Labor Day holiday weekend further highlights the encouraging scenario. Therefore, we believe that investors interested in the industry would do well to keep U.S. airline stocks like United Airlines UAL, American Airlines AAL and Delta Air Lines DAL on their radar.
With people taking to the skies in a big way in the post-COVID period, the airline industry, one of the hardest hit corners in the pandemic peak, is currently in good shape. Driven by the concept of ‘Revenge travel’, a term emanating from the prolonged periods of lockdown, people remain eager to undertake a flight despite headwinds like flight disruptions caused by labor shortages. Revenge travel highlights a strong desire to travel in response to the monotony and exhaustion of life caused by the COVID-19-induced lockdown.
Driven by the travel surge, the Federal Aviation Administration expects the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend to be the third busiest one in 2023 so far, after the Juneteenth weekend, which was inclusive of Father’s Day, and the break for Presidents Day.
The TSA’s Projection
The TSA anticipates screening more than 14 million passengers in the Sep 1-Sep 6 period, despite the likely disruptions caused by the tropical storm Idalia. The busiest day during the period is likely to be Sep 1. On that day, TSA expects to screen more than 2.7 million travelers passing through security checkpoints.
Per TSA administrator David Pekoske, “We anticipate this Labor Day holiday weekend will be busy, with passenger volumes nearly 11% higher than last year, volumes that already exceeded 2019 Labor Day holiday travel volumes.”
Highlighting the upbeat air-travel demand scenario, the TSA stated that it has screened approximately 227.5 million passengers since the Memorial Day weekend. This translates into an average of 2.5 million per day. To aid travel, many U.S. airlines are offering low fares for passengers who book their travel by Labor Day.
Given this rosy scenario, we have highlighted three airline stocks, that investors should keep tabs on.
United Airlines: UAL is seeing a steady recovery in domestic and international air travel demand. Anticipating to be extremely busy over the Labor Day holiday period, UAL’s management expects that nearly 2.8 million passengers will travel by its flights in the Aug 31-Sep 5 period.
Riding on the buoyant air traffic scenario, UAL shares have gained 32.9% year to date. The company surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters and missed the mark on the other occasion. The average beat was 17.2%. UAL currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
American Airlines: The company, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), is benefiting from an improvement in air travel demand. To meet the anticipated demand swell over the Aug 31-Sep 5 period, AAL aims to operate approximately 32,000 flights during this period. The carrier expects that nearly 3.5 million passengers will travel by its flights in the above timeframe.
AAL surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in all the last four quarters, with an average of 19.2%. AAL shares have gained 16.1% year to date.
Delta Air Lines: The company, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3, is benefiting from an improvement in air travel demand. The buoyant air-travel demand scenario is likely to aid Delta in attracting significant traffic during the Labor Day holiday period.
DAL surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in two of the last four quarters and missed the mark on the other two occasions. The average beat was 2.1%. DAL shares have gained 31.5% year to date.
Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL): Free Stock Analysis Report
This article originally appeared on Zacks
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