Post-Sandy Airline Roundup

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Airline stocks posted gains on Thursday, even as a winter storm on the East Coast threatens to cancel more flights out of New York City. The credit could be a general downward trend in oil prices, despite the recent volatility. U.S. oil inventories and production are at 17-year highs.

United Continental (NYSE:UAL) closed up 3.41 percent on Thursday after posting a hurricane Sandy damage report. The company puts lost revenue at $90 million and lost profit at $35 million due to nearly 5,300 cancelled flights. UAL’s revenue passenger miles for October dropped 3.3 percent and available seat miles dropped 4.4 percent.

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Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) reported October revenue passenger miles dropped 2.4 percent, compared to the month a year ago, and available seat miles dropped 1.6 percent. Southwest Airlines and AirTran cancelled a combined 1,750 flights because of Hurricane Sandy, but did not provide revenue loss estimates. Southwest’s stock price closed up 1.89 percent on Thursday.

JetaBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU) cancelled 1,484 flights because of the storm, but “overall financial impact to JetBlue’s October profitability is not expected to be material,” according to a statement. However, the company does expect weak demand in the fourth quarter resulting from the hurricane to affect revenue. JetBlue has not yet released October traffic numbers. Shares closed up 3.65 percent on Thursday.

US Airways Group (NYSE:LCC) posted a 3 percent increase in total passenger miles for October, while available seat miles remained flat. The company cancelled nearly 4,200 flights because of Sandy. Shares closed up 3.42 percent on Thursday.

Delta (NYSE:DAL) reported over 3,500 cancelled flights because of Sandy. Total revenue passenger miles for the month increased 0.3 percent while available seat miles dropped 1.8 percent. Delta puts revenue losses from Sandy at $45 million and profit losses at $20 million.

The nor’easter that hit the East Coast is responsible for as many as 2,200 additional cancellations this week.

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