Airline stocks rise as United kicks off busy earnings week


Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, from United Airlines company, taking off from Barcelona airport, in Barcelona on 28th March 2023. 

JanValls | Nurphoto | Getty Images

United Airlines shares rose about 5% on Tuesday after the company reported higher-than-expected earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter.

The carrier hit its full-year adjusted earnings target of between $10 and $12 a share in 2023 and said bookings so far in 2024 have been solid.

The report kicks off a busy week of airline earnings reports, with quarterly updates from American, Southwest and Alaska all due out on Thursday.

Shares of those three carriers were each up about 3% Tuesday. Shares of Delta, which reported fourth-quarter earnings earlier this month, were also up about 3%.

United forecast a first-quarter loss due to the grounding of Boeing 737 Max 9 planes this month but CEO Scott Kirby told CNBC in an interview Tuesday that the airline is seeing an increase in business travel in 2024.

“It’s only two weeks into the year, but we have seen a step up in business travel. We’re back now in terms of revenue, at least above where we were in 2019,” Kirby told CNBC’s Phil LeBeau.

United shares are about flat this year but are down about 30% from their 52-week high of $58.23 recorded in July.

Shares of Spirit Airlines, which have been on a tumultuous ride in the last week since a federal judge blocked the carrier’s planned merger with JetBlue, rose about 3% on Tuesday. JetBlue stock was also up about 3%.



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