Best Airline Stocks Right Now

Ready to gain altitude in the airline industry? Here are some of the hot airline stocks you can add to your portfolio.

Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE)

19.62 0.1991 (1.03%)
18.9 - 19.81
15.92 - 37.19

Spirit Airlines Inc serves the United States, Latin America, and Caribbean as an airline operator. It primarily offers customers unbundled base fares to strip out any unneeded travel amenities. If needed, a customer can elect for additional options at an extra charge. Flight crews are entirely interchangeable across all aircraft, and maintenance and other support services are simplified due to not having an overly complex fleet. The company has one operating segment, air transportation, owing to its system wide route structure. It may decide to expand its network if a market is underserved or overpriced. The majority of revenue is derived from the United States.

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United Airlines Holdings (NASDAQ: UAL)

44.92 0.2901 (0.65%)
44 - 45.355
30.54 - 60.585

United Airlines Holdings served more than 162 million customers through 1.7 million flights in 2019. It operates 791 mainline aircraft while its United Express carriers operate 581 regional aircrafts.

In fiscal 2019, the company reported $3 billion net income or $11.58 diluted earnings per share, an increase from $2.1 billion or $7.67 diluted earnings per share in 2018.

The passenger revenue also increased by $1.9 billion from 2018 after a 3.5% growth in available seat miles (ASMs). UAL repurchased 19.2 million shares for $1.6 billion and recorded U.S. Department of Transport on-time arrival rates of 77.9%.

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Alaska Air Gr (NYSE: ALK)

47.32 0.74 (1.59%)
45.855 - 47.7
43.39 - 72.92

Alaska Air Group operates 2 airlines — Horizon and Alaska. Horizon and Alaska have individual business plans, economic risks and competitive factors. Together with its regional airline partners, Alaska Air flies to 115 destinations with more than 1,300 daily departures through a vast network across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica.

In 2019, the airline carried an all-time record of 47 million guests. It earned $769 million consolidated income compared to $437 million in the previous year.

The company also marked its 16th consecutive year of profitability on an adjusted basis. Alaska Air employed 24,134 personnel at the end of fiscal 2019.

Some of its biggest shareholders include The Vanguard Group Inc., T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., BlackRock Institutional Trust Company and PRIMECAP Management Company.

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U.S. Global Jets ETF (ARCA: JETS)

19.73 0.22 (1.13%)
19.3 - 19.87
16.8801 - 27.4416

From the U.S. Global ETFs website, “The U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) provides investors access to the global airline industry, including airline operators and manufacturers from all over the world.”

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Sun Country Airlines (NASDAQ: SNCY)

24.36 0.55 (2.31%)
23.54 - 24.55
20.55 - 42.47

Sun County Airlines is an ultra-low-cost carrier flying out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and headquartered on airport property.

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Biggest Airline Stock Movers of the Day

Airline stocks could lose or gain significantly in regular and premarket trading sessions depending on earnings releases, airline partner updates and other market news.

The data provided below is intended for educational purposes only, we have included the session dates for your reference.

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Premarket Airline Stocks
Symbol Last Price Change % Change Trade
MESA 3.1 0.17 5.8% Trade
CEA 17.06 0.83 5.11% Trade
ULCC 9.88 0.44 4.66% Trade
JBLU 10.305 0.385 3.88% Trade
ZNH 25.732 0.882 3.54% Trade
GOL 6.05 0.17 2.89% Trade
HA 16.94 0.45 2.72% Trade
RYAAY 85.185 2.205 2.65% Trade
SNCY 24.385 0.575 2.41% Trade
CPA 69.62 1.53 2.24% Trade
Symbol Last Price Change % Change Trade
ALGT 148.75 -2.05 -1.36% Trade
ATSG 29.74 -0.3 -1% Trade
LUV 43.9611 -0.269 -0.61% Trade
Market Airline Stocks
Symbol Last Price Change % Change Trade
GOL 5.97 0.09 1.53% Trade
RYAAY 84.01 1.03 1.24% Trade
AZUL 13 0.12 0.93% Trade
Symbol Last Price Change % Change Trade
MESA 2.57 -0.36 -12.29% Trade
SAVE 19.05 -0.37 -1.91% Trade
UAL 43.79 -0.84 -1.89% Trade
ULCC 9.3 -0.14 -1.49% Trade
AAL 16.66 -0.23 -1.37% Trade
LUV 43.75 -0.48 -1.09% Trade
DAL 38.92 -0.39 -1% Trade
JBLU 9.83 -0.09 -0.91% Trade
ALK 46.38 -0.2 -0.43% Trade
ATSG 30.02 -0.02 -0.07% Trade
After Hours Airline Stocks
Symbol Last Price Change % Change Trade
Symbol Last Price Change % Change Trade
VLRS 14.13 -0.19 -1.33% Trade
DAL 38.9 -0.41 -1.05% Trade
AAL 16.77 -0.12 -0.72% Trade
SAVE 19.3 -0.12 -0.62% Trade
LUV 43.98 -0.25 -0.57% Trade
UAL 44.4 -0.23 -0.52% Trade
JBLU 9.9 -0.02 -0.21% Trade
ALK 46.5 -0.08 -0.18% Trade
SNCY 23.8 -0.01 -0.05% Trade

Want to jump straight to the best? Most of our users prefer Interactive Brokers for stock trading.

Airline stocks are cyclical and previous downturns have resulted in multiple airline failures and bankruptcies. It’s the question everyone’s been asking: Is it safe to buy airline stocks now? Which ones are the best-run companies?

Benzinga takes a look at some of the best airline stocks so you know where in this industry you should put your money.

Overview: Airline Stocks

In short, U.S. airline stocks have been lousy investments after the industry was deregulated in the late 1970s. The deregulation allowed companies to fiercely compete for business. The federal rule changes resulted in a boom and bust pattern — major profits when times were good and liquidations or bankruptcies when the economy went south.

Companies like Trans World Airlines (TWA), Braniff International and Eastern Air Lines vanished during this era and investors took billions in losses. 

The early 2000s was a period of consolidation and restructuring. The number of airlines reduced and the remaining competed and secured the balance sheets of surviving companies. American Airlines Group merged with US Airways. Delta bought Northwest, and Southwest Airlines bought AirTran.

Today the airline industry helps propel around $2 trillion in economic activity. 

Millions of jobs in the U.S. airline sector now fall into 3 categories:

  • Regionals, which offer smaller-jet services to secondary markets under the brands of full-service companies.
  • Full-service companies, which fly internationally, serve multiple markets and have various cabin classes.
  • Discounters, which have fewer offerings and cover fewer destinations.

Best Online Brokers for Airline Stocks

You can buy airline stock through any online broker with access to the major stock exchanges. Powerful stock screeners, analysis and research tools are available for use by anyone who registers. 

You may apply custom filters to identify stocks that fit your investing goals. Most online brokerages will also offer commission-free trades. 

Here are Benzinga’s favorites to consider if you trade airline stocks.

get started securely through Webull’s website
Best For
Intermediate Traders and Investors
1 Minute Review

Webull, founded in 2017, is a mobile app-based brokerage that features commission-free stock and exchange-traded fund (ETF) trading. It’s regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Webull offers active traders technical indicators, economic calendars, ratings from research agencies, margin trading and short-selling. Webull’s trading platform is designed for intermediate and experienced traders, although beginning traders can also benefit.

Webull is widely considered one of the best Robinhood alternatives.

Best For
  • Active traders
  • Intermediate traders
  • Advanced traders
  • No account maintenance fees or software platform fees
  • No charges to open and maintain an account
  • Intuitive trading platform with technical and fundamental analysis tools
  • Does not support trading in mutual funds, bonds or OTC stocks
get started securely through Moomoo’s website
Best For
Active Traders
1 Minute Review

Moomoo is a commission-free mobile trading app available on Apple, Google and Windows devices. A subsidiary of Futu Holdings Ltd., it’s backed by venture capital affiliates of Matrix, Sequoia, and Tencent (NASDAQ: FUTU). Securities offered by Futu Inc., regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Moomoo is another great alternative for Robinhood. This is an outstanding trading platform if you want to dive deep into smart trading. It offers impressive trading tools and opportunities for both new and advanced traders, including advanced charting, pre and post-market trading, international trading, research and analysis tools, and most popular of all, free Level 2 quotes.

Get started right away by downloading Moomoo to your phone, tablet or another mobile device.

Best For
  • Cost-conscious traders
  • Active and Advanced traders
  • Over 8,000 different stocks that can be sold short
  • Access trading and quotes in pre-market (4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. ET) and post-market hours (4 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET)
  • No minimum deposit to open an account.
  • No chat support
Get started securely through Axos Invest’s website
Best For
Sign Up Bonus
1 Minute Review

It seems like new digital investment management platforms are sprouting up left and right, and for good reason — there’s a great need for easy, straightforward investment management that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg in fees or to get started. If you’re new to investing or an old hat who wants to make the switch to a virtual manager, deciding which features you need can be confusing if not overwhelming.

If you want a no-frills financial management platform, Axos Invest (formerly WiseBanyan) takes a traditional but sophisticated approach to automated online investing.

Best For
  • Traditional investors trying out an automated investor for the first time
  • New investors that want to take a hands-off approach to portfolio management
  • Straightforward automated investing
  • Relatively low account minimum and automated investing fee
  • A solid roster of available investment account types
  • Not a stand-out from other services if you’re someone who likes all the bells and whistles with your digital financial platform
  • No direct relationship with a human financial advisor
get started securely through Interactive Broker’s website
Best For
GlobalAnalyst Product
1 Minute Review

This latest groundbreaking technology is IBKR GlobalAnalyst, a new trading tool that helps investors compare the rate of PEG or price-earnings growth valuations and provide more immediate and comprehensive financial metrics of stocks, globally.

Recognizing that stock selection can be challenging for investors to compare the valuations of domestic and international stocks, Interactive Brokers created GlobalAnalyst to offer investors a simple, yet powerful tool to easily evaluate investment opportunities around the world.

Using GlobalAnalyst, investors can search for stocks by region, country, industry, market capitalization and currency to uncover undervalued stocks worldwide. The resulting table displays the current market and financial metrics, including the PEG Ratio. The PEG Ratio is the PE ratio divided by the three-year compound earnings growth rate, and smaller PEG Ratios typically indicate undervalued companies.

Best For
  • Price earnings growth valuations
  • Easily evaluate investment opportunities
get started securely through eToro’s website
Disclosure: eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal.
Best For
Copy Trading
1 Minute Review

eToro is a broker that offers access to over 25 of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies, forex and over 1600 stocks. They have a few unique education and useability tools. Traders can begin buying and selling in as little as 10 minutes.

eToro’s unique CopyTrader feature allows new investors to “copy” the buy and sell orders of professional investors, while the company’s eToro Club feature provides investors with a range of additional education tools and resources. 

Best For
  • Traders looking for an easy-to-use platform
  • Traders who want to practice their trades using a virtual account before entering the market
  • Simple platform that is easy to master
  • CopyTrader feature that allows new traders to copy the same strategies used by professionals
  • Virtual dummy account that gives you $100,000 to practice trades
  • High non-trading fees

Features to Look for in an Airline Stock

You’ll want to ask yourself about unit revenue, stock liquidity and total debt ratio before you choose an airline stock. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Unit revenue generally describes revenue statistics adjusted for the amount of flying an airline does. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) is the most common unit revenue statistic. It is obtained by dividing airline revenue from ticket sales by the number of available seat miles (ASMs). 

Revenues from ticket sales typically rise and fall with air traffic. A higher PRASM is better because it means an airline squeezes more revenue from each unit of capacity.

Revenue per available seat mile (RASM) is an important evaluation metric and factors all sources of revenue. You should consider this for low-cost carriers that often rely on ancillary (non-ticket) revenue to drive sales. 

  • The stock’s liquidity refers to how quickly the shares of a stock can be sold or bought without significantly impacting the stock price. Airline stocks with low liquidity could be difficult to sell and result in huge losses if you can’t relinquish the shares when necessary.
  • Total debt ratio is a great way to understand a company’s financial structure. It compares a firm’s total liabilities versus its total assets. Unlike debt-equity ratio, total debt ratio also factors in short-term liabilities and assets. This ratio may help you assess whether a company will face financial difficulty in future. 

A firm with a huge debt ratio will probably incur higher interest payments. This will also reduce profits. A company may then experience difficulty raising capital since investors could see a higher risk of bankruptcy. A huge debt balance could be at risk of credit defaults if the market plummets.

Soar with Confidence in the Airline Industry

The future of the airline industry is still unclear. Some traders speculate further declines and want to use this opportunity to go short on airlines and airplane manufacturers. However, the worst may be behind us, creating an opportunity to buy airline stocks at a huge discount. 

Many airline stocks lost significant value, so the risk-reward ratio is enticing should the stocks regain their previous price levels with the promise of federal relief in coronavirus aid. 

Do your homework and avoid companies with vulnerable operations and balance sheets. Travel demand is expected to rise, so there’s ample room to soar into the foreseeable future. 

And if you’re in the market for bargain stocks, take a look at our lists of stocks under $20, stocks under $10 and even stocks under $5

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