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10 Best Airline Stocks To Buy Now

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In this article, we will look at 10 best airline stocks to buy now. If you want to skip our detailed analysis of the airline industry which highlights key trends and major players, you can go directly to 5 Best Airline Stocks To Buy Now.

According to a report published by leading market research agency T4, the global airline industry was worth $828 billion in 2019, and it was estimated that it would depreciate in value by 44% in 2020 due to COVID-19. Statista found that the global airline industry suffered a net 56% loss in value and dropped to $359.3 billion in 2020. According to the International Air Transport Association's World Air Transport Statistics publication, the airline industry flew 1.8 billion passengers in 2020, down 60.2% from 4.5 billion passengers in 2019. In 2020, overall air travel demand, as measured in revenue passenger kilometers, saw a dip of 65.9% year-over-year, international passenger demand RPKs declined by 75.6% year over year, and domestic air passenger demand plummeted 48.8% year over year.

The Airline Industry: 2021 and Beyond

As economies around the world reopened and lifted lockdown measures, the slow recovery of the global airline industry began. According to a semi-annual performance report put forth by IATA, in 2021 the global airline industry set itself for recovery, however, revenue passenger kilometers were only 40% of pre-pandemic levels. The RPKs for the air freight subsector recovered to above pre-pandemic levels in 2021 and are expected to remain robust in 2022 as global trading volumes increase. IATA estimates global air travel to recover to 61% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022, and losses incurred by the industry to drop to $12 billion in 2022, down from $52 billion in 2021. Further, the global airline industry is expected to recover its financial performance and balance losses in 2022, with North America being the only region that is expected to be profitable in 2022.

Some of the biggest and most prominent players in the airline industry are United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:UAL), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV), and Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL).

Scottt13 / Shutterstock.com

Our Methodology

To devise our list of the best airline stocks to buy now, we reviewed industry analysis studies conducted by leading market intelligence agencies and identified the top airline companies that are generating profits and experiencing high air-travel volumes. We narrowed down our selection to companies that have reported robust financial performance and high air traffic results in 2022.

Along with each stock, we have mentioned the analyst and investor sentiment around it. We believe both these metrics to be key to gauging a stock's performance and its valuation. To derive the hedge fund sentiment for each stock, we used Insider Monkey's database which tracks roughly 900 elite hedge funds as of the first quarter of 2022.

Now that we have seen reviewed the airline industry's valuation in recent years, let's look at the 10 best airline stocks to buy now.

Best Airline Stocks To Buy Now

10. Volaris (NYSE:VLRS)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 15

Volaris (NYSE:VLRS) is another airline giant that presents a compelling entry point for investors looking to take stakes in the airline industry. The company is a leading global provider of air transportation services for passengers, cargo, and mail. At the close of Q1 2022, 15 hedge funds held stakes in Volaris (NYSE:VLRS) worth $337.38 million. This is compared to 16 hedge funds in the prior quarter with stakes of $305.94 million.

This June, Volaris (NYSE:VLRS) reported May 2022 traffic results. The company reported a 12.4% year-over-year increase in capacity and a 12.3% year-over-year increase in demand. Volaris (NYSE:VLRS) reportedly transported 2.5 million passengers in May, up 17.5% year over year.

As of the first quarter of 2022, Teewinot Capital Advisers is the leading shareholder in Volaris (NYSE:VLRS) owning over 6.12 million shares of the company. The fund's stakes in Volaris (NYSE:VLRS) are valued at $111.48 million, which covers 32.73% of its investment portfolio.

Among top airline companies, we have Volaris (NYSE:VLRS), United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:UAL), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV), and Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL).

9. Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 16

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA) is a leading provider of scheduled and charter air transportation services for passengers, cargo, and mail. The company is the largest operator of commercial flights to and from the U.S. state of Hawaii and is the tenth-largest commercial airline in the United States, which makes it rank among the best airline stocks to buy now.

On April 26, Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA) released strong earnings for the fiscal first quarter of 2022. The company reported a loss per share of $2.54 but exceeded estimates by $0.01. Moreover, the company’s quarterly revenue came in at $477.21 million, up 161.89% year over year, and outperformed market consensus by $0.47 million.

As of this April, Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Linenberg has a Hold rating and a $23 price target on Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA).

This May, Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA) raised its second-quarter revenue guidance and announced that it expects revenue to fall between 4.5% and 7.5%, down from the previous estimates of between 8% and 12%.

At the end of the first quarter of 2022, 16 hedge funds held stakes in Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA) worth $51.76 million. This is compared to 14 positions in the preceding quarter with stakes worth $57.62 million.

In the first quarter of 2022, Third Avenue Management upped its Q4 2021 stakes in Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA) by 25%, bringing them to $24.05 million in Q1 2022. Third Avenue Management is the top shareholder in Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA). 

8. Ryanair Holdings Plc (NASDAQ:RYAAY)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 17

Ryanair Holdings Plc (NASDAQ:RYAAY) is an ultra-low-cost carrier with operations in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany, and other European countries. The company is Europe's largest airline company, and also one of the best airline stocks to buy now. Ryanair Holdings Plc (NASDAQ:RYAAY) is an undervalued airline stock. As of June 7, the stock has a forward PE ratio of 14.27 and is trading at $86.54 per share with the company’s market capitalization sitting at $16.83 billion.

This May, Ryanair Holdings Plc (NASDAQ:RYAAY) announced earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter of 2022. The company reported a loss per share of $0.97, but beat EPS expectations by $0.08. On top of this, the company’s revenue came in at $1.23 billion, up 752.39% year over year, but missed revenue estimates by $11.79 million.

On May 17, Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth upgraded Ryanair Holdings Plc (NASDAQ:RYAAY) to Strong Buy from Outperform and maintained a $125 price target on the shares. The analyst noted that the company has a strong balance sheet and offers a competitive cost structure that positions it well to absorb COVID demand shocks as compared to its peers.

At the end of the first quarter of 2022, 17 hedge funds were long Ryanair Holdings Plc (NASDAQ:RYAAY) with stakes worth $328.66 million. This is compared to 15 positions in the fourth quarter of 2021 with stakes of $344.70 million.

As of March 31, Harris Associates is the most bullish hedge fund on Ryanair Holdings Plc (NASDAQ:RYAAY). The hedge fund raised its Q4 2021 stakes by 16% in Q1 2022, bringing them to $672.31 million. The fund owns over 7.7 million shares of the company which covers 0.88% of Harris Associates' 13F portfolio.

7. SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 22

SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW) operates as a regional airline in the United States through two business segments: SkyWest Airlines and SkyWest Leasing.  As of December 31, 2021, the company operated a fleet of 629 aircraft and provided scheduled passenger and air freight services with over 2,000 daily departures to locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW) is one of the few airline companies that can boast a strong balance sheet, which makes it a top airline stock to buy now. On April 28, SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW) announced earnings for the fiscal first quarter of 2022 in which it beat both EPS and revenue estimates. The company reported earnings per share of $0.35 and exceeded expectations by $0.36. Moreover, the company’s revenue came in at $735.15 million, up 37.53% year over year, outperforming estimates by $35.52 million.

As of this April, Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Linenberg has a $30 price target and a Hold rating on SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW).

Hedge funds are piling into SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW). At the close of Q1 2022, 22 hedge funds were long SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW) with stakes worth $87.98 million in the company. This is compared to 16 positions in Q4 2021 with stakes worth $30.84 million. The hedge fund sentiment for the stock is positive.

As of the first quarter of 2022, Arrowstreet Capital is the top shareholder in SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW). The fund upped its Q4 2021 stakes in the airline giant by 188%, bringing them to $13.97 million in Q1 2022.

Just like United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:UAL), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV), and Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW) presents a compelling entry point for investors looking to take a stake in the lucrative and slowly recovering airline industry.

6. Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ:ALGT)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 24

Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ:ALGT) provides travel services and products to residents of under-served cities in the United States. The company is among the major airlines in the United States and the fourteenth-largest airline in North America, which makes it rank high among the best airline stocks to buy now. As of February 2022, the company operates a fleet of 110 Airbus A320 series aircraft.

As of this April, Barclays analyst Brandon Oglenski has a $220 price target and an Overweight rating on Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ:ALGT).

On May 19, Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ:ALGT) reported that the company’s April available seat miles were up 15.5% from 2019 numbers, and it transported 1.52 million passengers in the month, up 19.5% from April 2019. Moreover, the company also guided to increased available seat miles in the second quarter, growing by between 9.0% and 13.0% year-over-year. The company raised its Q2 revenue view by 32% with Wall Street consensus at $600 million.

At the close of Q1 2022, 24 hedge funds held stakes in Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ:ALGT) worth $230.07 million. This is compared to 24 positions in the prior quarter with stakes worth $293.55 million.

As of March 31, 2022, Diamond Hill Capital is the most prominent shareholder in Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ:ALGT) owning over 0.49 million shares of the company, up 28% from its prior stakes in the company. The investment covers 0.29% of Diamond Hill Capital's 13F portfolio.

 

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Disclose. None. 10 Best Airline Stocks To Buy Now is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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