Are airlines pulling out of tailspin?

Thanks to growth in South America and Asia, carriers appear to be doing better than they did in the last year or so

By InvestorPlace Mar 11, 2010 1:08PM

airline stocksAirlines have been in a tailspin for the past year as passenger demand fell 3.5% in 2009 and the average load per flight was just 75.6%. But it appears that major carriers could be pulling out of their gut-wrenching dive -- today, the International Air Transport Association lowered its expected total airline losses for 2009 from $11 billion to $9.4 billion.


Being in the red is still not good news, but the improvement shows that the airline industry could be on the mend. That presents some opportunities for investors. Specifically, opportunities in airlines with influence in Asia and Latin America. The IATA noted that the biggest gains lately have been in these regions. Asia-Pacific ticketing saw twice the gains that Europe and North American did, and the South American market saw over three times the growth.


Here are three Asian and Latin American airlines to consider that are capitalizing on these trends:


Chile's LAN Airlines (LFL): LAN Airlines transports passengers throughout its home country and beyond. Together with its regional affiliates, LAN serves more than 60 destinations, mainly in the Americas but also in Europe and the Asia/Pacific region through a fleet of about 70 passenger aircraft. Its subsidiary, LAN Cargo, is one of Latin America's leading airfreight carriers and operates a fleet of about 10 freighters.


China Southern Airlines Company (ZNH): ZNH is one of China’s top three airlines, along with China Eastern Air and Air China. It operates a fleet of more than 300 aircraft (mainly Boeing and Airbus jets) from its hub in Guangzhou and about 20 regional bases. The airline serves about 150 destinations, including about 120 throughout China and about 30 in other countries, primarily in the Asia/Pacific region. China Southern Airlines extends its international network via code-sharing partnerships with Delta, KLM and Japan Air. The Chinese government-owned China Southern Air Holding Co. owns over 50% of China Southern Airlines’ stock. (Anytime the Chinese government has a stake in a company, it is almost guaranteed to succeed.)


For three more Latin America and China airline picks, click here.


The airline industry is still a bit rocky right now, but these emerging market airlines could have bright futures.

 

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