Airline shares gained 6% in February
In line with the broader market, which rose 5%, IATA reports that airline shares gained 6% in February over January’s numbers.
Growth in world-wide trade caused a sharp increase in air freight growth. Passenger travel has also increased, driven by the strength of emerging markets an improvements in developed economies. A better business environment combined with acceleration in world trade has also resulted in growth of airline share prices. Regionally, airline shares increased in the US and Europe, but remained weak in Asia Pacific.
Passenger load factors, which had been showing weakness throughout 2013, rebounded in January compared to December, supported by a solid rise in demand and slower growth in capacity. Levels remain high and are back above 80% on a seasonally adjusted basis.
While recent improvements in air freight load have moderated slightly, levels are still higher than at their low point in 2013. Overall, however, levels are low at barely above 45%.
Q4 results show operating profits up 100% over a year ago, driven by the performance of North American airlines. Results are opposite in Asia Pacific, however, mainly because of a weakness in cargo demand.