Top Airline Stocks for Q2 2022

The airline industry is composed of companies that offer a variety of air transportation and travel services for consumers and cargo. Services include flight transport, aircraft leasing, hotel booking, car rentals, and travel management services. Some big names in the airline industry include Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV), Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), and United Airlines Holdings Inc. (UAL).

As the surge of the COVID-19 omicron variant has subsided, many airlines have seen bookings grow at a fast pace. However, the price of jet fuel has surged in recent weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, threatening overall recovery for the airline industry.

Airline stocks, as represented by the U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS), an airline exchange-traded fund, have vastly underperformed the broader market. JETS has provided a total return of -33.4% over the past 12 months, below the 4.5% total return of the Russell 1000 Index.

Here are the top three airline stocks with the best value, fastest growth, and best performance. The market performance numbers above and all statistics in the tables below are as of March 14, 2022.

These are the airline stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows that you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.

Best Value Airline Stocks
  Price ($) Market Capitalization (Market Cap) ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
SkyWest Inc. (SKYW) 25.12 1.3 11.4
Air Transport Services Group Inc. (ATSG) 31.20 2.3 11.8
Alaska Air Group Inc. (ALK) 49.60 6.2 13.2

Source: YCharts

  • SkyWest Inc.: SkyWest is a regional airline operating through its subsidiary SkyWest Airlines Inc. The company provides air service throughout the U.S. and under a variety of different names. In mid-March 2022, the U.S. Transportation Department barred SkyWest from ending service under the United Express name to 29 locations until replacement carriers can be found under the government’s subsidy program to provide air service to smaller communities.
  • Air Transport Services Group Inc.: Air Transport Services Group is a holding company that, through subsidiaries, leases aircraft and offers airline operations and related services. The company provides ground handling, aircraft maintenance and modification, and a variety of other support services. On March 14, the company announced that its leasing subsidiary, Cargo Aircraft Management, had taken steps to meet growing demand. It placed a second order to convert four of its Boeing 767-300 aircraft into Boeing Converted Freighters, with an option to convert four additional aircraft beyond that. The conversions are slated to begin in late 2023.
  • Alaska Air Group Inc.: Alaska Air Group operates Alaska and Horizon airlines services. The company also provides aviation services. Alaska Air Group offers regional service within the U.S. and Canada.

These are the top airline stocks as ranked by a growth model that scores companies based on a 50/50 weighting of their most recent quarterly YOY percentage revenue growth and most recent quarterly YOY EPS growth. Both sales and earnings are critical factors in the success of a company. Therefore, ranking companies by only one growth metric makes a ranking susceptible to the accounting anomalies of that quarter (such as changes in tax law or restructuring costs) that may make one figure or the other unrepresentative of the business in general. Companies with quarterly EPS or revenue growth of more than 2,500% were excluded as outliers.

Fastest-Growing Airline Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) EPS Growth (%) Revenue Growth (%)
Air Transport Services Group Inc. (ATSG) 31.20 2.3 1,800 20.8
Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY) 83.34 18.9 N/A (see company description) 313.2
Copa Holdings SA (CPA) 74.12 3.1 -92.2 262.5

Source: YCharts

  • Air Transport Services Group Inc.: See company description above.
  • Ryanair Holdings PLC: Ryanair Holdings is an Ireland-based ultra-low fare airline. It provides short-haul, point-to-point routes across Europe and to select destinations in Africa and the Middle East. The company’s Q3 FY 2022 ended Dec. 31, 2021. It reported narrowing net losses as total operating revenues more than quadrupled year-over-year (YOY). The company cited the impact of the omicron variant on peak holiday bookings and fares as a key driver of performance. Because Ryanair’s EPS was negative, it does not have an EPS growth figure in the table above.
  • Copa Holdings SA: Copa Holdings is a Panama-based provider of airline passenger and cargo service. The Company provides scheduled flights to countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

These are the airline stocks that had the best returns or smallest declines in total return over the past 12 months out of the companies we looked at.

Airline Stocks with the Best Performance
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
Air Transport Services Group Inc. (ATSG) 31.20 2.3 6.4
Exchange Income Corp. (EIF.TO) CA$39.00 CA$1.5 1.2
Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación SAB de C.V. (VLRS) 15.20 1.8 -2.3
Russell 1000 N/A N/A 4.5
U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) N/A N/A -33.4

Source: YCharts

  • Air Transport Services Group Inc.: See company description above.
  • Exchange Income Corp.: Exchange Income is a Canada-based diversified, acquisition-oriented company focused on aerospace and aviation services and equipment. Its businesses include scheduled airline and charter service, emergency medical services, and government services. On Feb. 17, the company announced a monthly dividend of $0.19 per share, payable March 15 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 28, 2022.
  • Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación SAB de C.V.: Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación, also known as Volaris, is a Mexico-based, low-cost airline carrier offering passenger air transportation. The company primarily serves budget-conscious business travelers and leisure travelers bound for destinations in Mexico, the United States, and Central America.

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