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Contract 2020????
Aug 14, 2004
Total Time

Airlines lifted by broad market gains, cheaper oil

Continental's December revenue growth offsets contracting demand

By Christopher Hinton, MarketWatch
Last update: 5:10 p.m. EST Jan. 6, 2009

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - Broad market gains and a drop in oil prices lifted airline stocks on Tuesday, with further support coming from higher revenue last month at Continental Airlines despite lower demand.

The price for crude, meanwhile, fell 23 cents, or 0.5%, to end the day at $48.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It climbed to $50.47 earlier Tuesday, rising above $50 for the first time since Dec. 1.

Taking the lead among the major carriers was US <IMG class=pixelTracking height=1 width=1 border=0>LCC 9.08, +0.02, +0.2%) , up 8.8% at $9.06 a share.

Continental Airlines (CAL: Continental Airlines Inc
CAL 20.78, +0.04, +0.2%) , which reported 4% revenue growth in December gained 6.1% to close at $20.74.

Monday, Continental said its passenger traffic declined 6.7% to 7.1 billion revenue miles for December while its consolidated load factor, the percentage of seats filled with paying passengers, rose 1.2 percentage points to 79.9%.

More importantly, the Houston carrier's revenue per available seat mile rose an estimated 3.5% to 4.5% from the year-earlier, a better result than some analysts had anticipated.

"An outcome better than the 1% we feared," said JPMorgan analyst Jamie Baker. That's a "respectable outcome," he said.

At UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, December traffic fell 11.5% to 8.2 billion revenue passenger miles from 9.27 billion revenue passenger miles a year ago. Load factor rose to 79.9% from 78.8% a year ago.

Revenue per available seat mile fell, however, by 11.5%.

Traffic at American Airlines fell 8.2% to 10.32 billion revenue passenger miles in December, vs. 11.24 billion last year. Its load factor rose marginally to 79.2% from 78.8%.

Traffic at regional carrier American Eagle slid 12.4% to 588.1 million revenue passenger miles its load factor rose to 70.2% from 69.4%.

Also reporting its December numbers was Southwest. The Dallas-based carrier said traffic in December rose 1.1% to 5.8 billion revenue passenger miles, while capacity fell 1% to 8.3 billion available seat miles, compared with the same month a year ago.

Load factor, or the percentage of the plane filled with passengers, increased to 69.7% from 68.2% in the year-earlier period, the carrier said.


Well-known member
Nov 26, 2001
Total Time
I was pretty surprised to say the least when I read that. HHmm.. I guess all the dire predictions from MGT will have to be put on hold for at least another few weeks.