Airlines to show improving revenue trends: analyst

ATLANTA Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:52am EST

A JetBlue aircraft makes its way from the terminal at JFK International Airport in New York February 19, 2007. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

A JetBlue aircraft makes its way from the terminal at JFK International Airport in New York February 19, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Keith Bedford

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ATLANTA (Reuters) - Shares of major U.S. airlines moved higher on Friday after FTN Equity Capital Markets said good holiday business and easier comparisons would probably result in an improvement in unit revenue trends for November.

The Arca Airline index .XAL was up 3.1 percent in morning trading. American Airlines parent AMR Corp AMR.N rose 4.5 percent, while United parent UAL Corp UAUA.O gained 3.9 percent and Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N), the world's biggest carrier, rose 2.3 percent.

"We are expecting a significant sequential improvement in unit revenue change in the month of November compared with October as the airlines begin to lap easier (comparisons), capacity remains tight and bookings appear solid for the upcoming holiday periods," FTN Equity analyst Michael Derchin said in a note to clients on Thursday.

FTN said it expected a decline of 6 percent in revenue per available seat mile for the industry as a whole in November, compared with a drop of 14 percent in October. RASM is a key industry benchmark.

Should that single-digit RASM decline materialize for November, it would represent the best sequential monthly improvement for the industry in more than two years, the firm added.

Among airlines, Derchin wrote that JetBlue Airways (JBLU.O) could post the best unit revenue change for this month compared with October, as it benefits from leisure travel.

"This year, the entire Thanksgiving holiday travel period falls in November unlike last year when some key return travel days were in early December," the FTN note added.

JetBlue shares were up about 1.9 percent.

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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