Which Airlines are Flying High in the Market?

Jacob Harper |

It’s the holiday season, everyone’s favorite time of year to pack into airports and fly across the country in a metal tube filled with 200 strangers. To commemorate the joyous (travel) season, we thought we’d look at how the eight major airline stocks had fared over the year.

The airline industry is an interesting one. To be sure, the profits are there for the taking, and a well-oiled airline company with well-established routes and a well-repaired fleet can really rake in the cash. However, commercial airline companies, even successful ones, can come crashing down in seemingly an instant. Take Pan Am, once the world’s largest commercial carrier. After decades atop the industry, a series of unfortunate events in the late '80s – notably a reputation for having their planes hijacked by terrorists at an alarming rate –crippled the company, and Pan Am was completely bankrupt by 1991.

In looking at how the major airline companies have fared in 2013, we found the majority of them were doing quite well, with healthy profit to earnings ratios and nice year-to-date gains. Here are the eight major airlines trading on the American market, and some details about their performance:


AAR Corp (AIR)

Market-Cap: $1.2 billion

Price: $31.11

P/E: 22.88

Performance YTD: +68.8 percent


China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd. (CEA)

Market-Cap: $4.91 billion

Price: $21.18

P/E: 10.59

Performance YTD: +5.37 percent


Delta Airlines Inc. (DAL)

Market-Cap: $23.34 billion

Price: $28.60

P/E: 11.92

Performance YTD: +142.17 percent


US Airways Group, Inc. (LCC)

Market-Cap: $4.69 billion

Price: $24.27

P/E: 8.31

Performance YTD: +79.78 percent


Spirit Airlines (SAVE)

Market-Cap: $3.24 billion

Price: $44.62

P/E: 21.25

Performance YTD: +151.66 percent


United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL)

Market-Cap: $13.76 billion

Price: $38.54

P/E: N/A

Performance YTD: +64.84 percent


Controladora Vuela Compa (VLRS)

Market-Cap: $1.14 billion

Price: $14.24

P/E: 30.96

Performance YTD: +1.64 percent


China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. (ZNH)

Market-Cap: $4.3 billion

Price: $21.88

P/E: 10.32

Performance YTD: -13.65 percent



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Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
AIR AAR Corp. 31.86 -0.13 -0.41 38,185
CEA China Eastern Airlines Corporation Ltd. 22.98 -0.24 -1.03 5,009
DAL Delta Air Lines Inc. 41.64 0.17 0.41 3,033,099
SAVE Spirit Airlines Inc. 48.65 0.41 0.85 291,711
SGQZ Sea Star Group Inc New 0.50 0.00 0.00 0
UAL United Continental Holdings 55.43 1.01 1.86 1,298,491
VLRS Controladora Vuela Compania de Aviacion S.A.B. de 19.20 -0.05 -0.26 153,223
ZNH China Southern Airlines Company Limited 28.14 0.22 0.79 3,202


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