Analyst: 2009 is good for airlines


The year 2009 will bring a dose of optimism to major U.S. airline carriers due to the effects of lower oil prices, falling domestic capacity and revenue-per-available-seat-mile growth, senior analyst Michael Derchin with FTN Midwest Securities Corp. said Monday.

Derchin added that weaker carriers, like Sterling Air, have already been forced to close operations, a sign that weaker carriers are leaving the marketplace.

Derchin added that the Delta-Northwest merger along with consolidation and a tightening in airline capacity nationwide have created a situation where the airlines stand to profit from higher fares and the elimination of inefficient flights.

Derchin predicts that with all factors considered, the airline industry is in-line to record a small profit in the fourth quarter of 2008. He counts Dallas-Fort Worth-based AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines Inc., among his favorites in the new year, as well as Dallas-based Southwest Airlines.