Airline investors fly upside down

2 minute read

An American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER plane takes off from Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, October 28, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

NEW YORK, Sept 9 (Reuters Breakingviews) - For airline investors, down is up. On Thursday, American Airlines (AAL.O) warned that revenue in the third quarter would fall more than expected as September bookings slowed. Its stock rose 5%. Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), United Airlines (UAL.O), and JetBlue Airways (JBLU.O) all expressed similar sentiment. Each of their stock prices increased.

Until lately, up was down too. Even as vaccinations for Covid-19 have become more widely available and government travel restrictions have lifted, United's share price has fallen around 20%. American’s shares tell a similar story.

The trouble may be that the longer-term future of airlines is becoming harder to predict, so investors are inclined to discount good news and be relieved when the worst-case scenario doesn’t happen. Still a recovery that is further prolonged certainly isn’t first-class . After several quarters of burning cash despite getting costs in check, many airlines swung back to the black last quarter, but just barely . (By Lauren Silva Laughlin)

On Twitter

Capital Calls - More concise insights on global finance:

Christine Lagarde channels Margaret Thatcher read more

Surging Sea skillfully rides the wave read more

Valuing Ant becomes all art, no science read more

AMC box office boon doesn’t uphold meme value read more

Buyout barons can bark louder for German pet group read more

Editing by John Foley and Sharon Lam

Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time.

Sign up for a free trial of our full service at and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at All opinions expressed are those of the authors.

More from Reuters