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Airline Shares Weaker As Traffic Still Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

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By Dhirendra Tripathi

Investing.com – Stocks of airlines companies traded lower Tuesday as the latest data from the U.S. Transportation Department showed that passenger traffic remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), United (NASDAQ:UAL), Delta (NYSE:DAL) and JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) all fell 2.5% to 3%. Spirit Airlines (NYSE:SAVE) dipped 0.5% after its CEO said a rash of cancellations from July 30 to August 9 are expected to lead to $80 million to $100 million of lost revenue during the third quarter.

Aviation was among the last sectors to be reopened as the pandemic eased. But just as airlines were welcoming back travelers, the delta variant struck and led to a fresh surge in Covid-19 infections. As a result, many people cancelled their travel plans.

What has made life more difficult for airlines is that passengers are cancelling close to the date of travel which shortens their window for re-sale of those tickets.

According to a Reuters report, U.S. airlines carried 66.4 million passengers in the month, three times the June 2020 volume but still down 21% over pre-pandemic levels.

The department said June domestic passengers were down 17% while international passengers were down 45%.

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