Sector Snap: Airline shares slip

Airline shares slip on worries delays from gov't budget cuts may stop some travelers flying

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of most airlines edged down Monday on worries that the effects of federal budget cuts will steer some travelers away from flying.

For example, flight delays piled up all along the East Coast Monday as thousands of air traffic controllers were forced to take an unpaid day off because of federal budget cuts. Some flights were delayed by more than two hours as the Federal Aviation Administration kept planes on the ground because there weren't enough controllers to monitor busy air corridors.

The furloughs are part of mandatory budget cuts that kicked in on March 1 after Democrats and Republicans missed a deadline to agree on a long-term deficit reduction plan.

FAA officials have said they have no choice but to furlough all 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 air traffic controllers. Each employee will lose one day of work every other week. The FAA has said that planes will have to take off and land less frequently, so as not to overload the remaining controllers on duty.

Here's how shares of the major airlines were trading Monday afternoon:

— Delta Air Lines Inc., up 38 cents, or 2 percent, to $15.64.

— United Continental Holdings Inc., down 26 cents to $30.34.

— Southwest Airlines Co., down 8 cents to $13.26.

— U.S. Airways Group Inc., down 24 cents, or 2 percent, to $15.78.

— JetBlue Airways Corp., down 2 cents to $7.14.

— Alaska Air Group Inc., down 7 cents to $60.28.

— SkyWest Inc., down 33 cents, or 2 percent, to $13.95.

— Hawaiian Holdings Inc., down 3 cents to $5.53.

— Republic Airways Holdings Inc., up 20 cents to $11.22.

Broader markets were higher, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index rising 0.5 percent.

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