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American Airlines March Traffic Up, Q1 PRASM View Soft

Premier passenger carrier American Airlines Group Inc. AAL posted strong air traffic in the month of March. Traffic – measured in revenue passenger miles (RPMs) – stood at 19 billion, up 3.3% from 18.4 billion recorded last March.

On a year-over-year basis, consolidated capacity (available seat miles/ASMs) increased 3.8% to 23.26 billion. However, the load factor or percentage of seats filled by passengers decreased to 81.7% from 82.1% in Mar 2015.

In the first three months of 2016, American Airlines generated RPMs of 51.77 billion (up 3.2% from the corresponding period last year) and ASMs of 65.06 billion (up 3.6% year over year). Meanwhile, the load factor declined 30 basis points year over year to 79.6%. Moreover, total passenger count in March as well as in the first three months of 2016 increased 1% and 1.6% year over year, respectively.

We believe that the company’s route expansion plans, introduction of ancillary products and customer service enhancement bode well for the future. Further, the company has been reaping considerable benefits from its joint ventures and code share agreements.

Meanwhile, American Airlines forecasts a 7% to 8% drop in PRASM (passenger revenue per available seat mile) for the second quarter of 2015. We believe that the decline may have been brought about by foreign currency exchange rate risks.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

American Airlines currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). Better-ranked stocks in the same space include Deutsche Lufthansa Aktiengesellschaft DLAKY, China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. CEA and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. GOL. Both Deutsche Lufthansa and China Eastern sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while GOL Linhas carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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GOL LINHAS-ADR (GOL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CHINA EASTN-ADR (CEA): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
LUFTHANSA -ADR (DLAKY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AMER AIRLINES (AAL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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