Business and leisure travelers won't be happy to see that the major airlines have increased fares for the third time in the past month, but airline investors should be very happy with the news. The latest rate hike originated with Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) raising its fares across most of its routes last week, prompting other major airlines to match the increase over the weekend. Of the major airlines, Delta (NYSE:DAL), American Airlines (AMR) and Continental/United (NYSE:UAL) all increased fares, leading many to believe that the higher prices will remain in place. While the increases were modest -- just $4 - $10 per roundtrip ticket -- many believe these increases will help airlines offset higher fuel costs and protect the strong margins that the airline industry has experienced over the past year.
While airline stocks are trading lower today ahead of the major winter storm approaching the Northeast, higher fares could translate into higher earnings for the sector. Two ETFs are currently dedicated to the airline industry - Direxion Airline Shares (FLYX) and the Guggenheim Airline ETF (FAA). FLYX is a relatively new ETF with 15 different holdings and American Airlines as the top stock in the fund. FAA is the more popular ETF with 23 different holdings and Southwest Airlines as the top stock in the fund. For a full list of holdings, visit the FAA Holdings page and the FLYX Holdings page.
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