PlaneBusiness Banter Posted

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Hello everyone. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

Last week was one huge week in Airlineland as not only did it mark the end of the third quarter, but the United/Continental deal closed on Friday. All of this came on top of the big news from Monday — Southwest Airlines was buying AirTran for $1.4 billion in stock and cash.

Not surprisingly this week’s issue of PBB is very heavy on U.S. domestic airline analysis. Who could be hurt by the Southwest news? Who could be helped? We go down all the scenarios.

And no, unlike a lot of industry observers and at least one analyst, I don’t think Delta Air Lines is going to take a huge hit as a result of the move by Southwest into Atlanta. More on why I think that is the case in this week’s issue.

Continental reported its traffic and RASM estimates after the close of trading Friday. The airline’s RASM estimate for September came in much higher than analysts had forecast. Will United’s follow suit? Yes, this marked Continental’s final traffic report as a swinging single.

The feeling before this announcement was that the U.S. domestic industry has experienced a drop-off in revenue during September. But now we know that at least one airline didn’t see a drop-off.

Thursday marked the end of the third quarter. And wow — was it a great one for the airline sector. So great in fact that we even had one airline stock post a triple-digit gain for the quarter. A gold star if you can guess what stock I am talking about.

But even without that stellar performance (which was, arguably merger-driven), the rest of the group enjoyed an extremely strong quarter. We run down the winners and the handful of losers.

For that matter, last week was a good week for the sector as well — as the Southwest/AirTran merger moved stocks higher. Especially shares of AirTran, which took the weekly honors for the group.

All this and more in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue of PBB here.