Top Airline Stocks for Q1 2022

VLRS is top for value and momentum while HA is top for growth

The airline industry is comprised of companies that offer a variety of air transportation and travel services for consumers and cargo. Services include flight transport, aircraft leasing, hotel booking, car rentals, and travel management services. Some big names in the airline industry include Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV), Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), and United Airlines Holdings Inc. (UAL). Travel restrictions, including strict social distancing rules, put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, have led to plunging demand for airline travel and severely impacted the airline industry. Vaccine rollouts and easing of restrictions last year helped to support a recovery in travel and the airline industry. However, variants of the coronavirus, including the Delta variant and more-recent Omicron variant, have hindered that recovery.

Airline stocks, as represented by the U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS), an airline ETF, have underperformed the broader market. JETS has provided a total return of -7.1% over the past 12 months, below the 30.9% total return of the Russell 1000 Index. These market performance numbers and all statistics in the tables below are as of Jan. 3, 2022.

Here are the top 3 airline stocks with the best value, fastest growth, and most momentum.

Best Value Airline Stocks

These are the airline stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.

Best Value Airline Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
Controladora Vuela Compania de Aviacion SAB de CV (VLRS) 17.75 2.1 12.5
Sun Country Airlines Holdings Inc. (SNCY) 28.08 1.6 24.3
Allegiant Travel Co. (ALGT) 190.95 3.5 30.3

Source: YCharts

  • Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación SAB de CV: Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación, also known as Volaris, is a Mexico-based, low-cost airline carrier offering passenger air transportation. The company primarily serves budget-conscious business travelers and leisure travelers bound for destinations in Mexico, the U.S., and Central America.
  • Sun Country Airlines Holdings Inc.: Sun Country Airlines Holdings operates Sun Country Airlines, a low-cost air carrier. The company offers scheduled, charter and cargo services. A major focus is leisure travel with scheduled passenger service to more than 50 destinations in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Travelers can also book vacation packages.
  • Allegiant Travel Co.: Allegiant Travel is an integrated travel company. It provides scheduled and charter airline services throughout the U.S., and charter service to Canada and Mexico. The company offers hotel booking, car rentals, travel management, and other related services. Allegiant recently announced that it has agreed to purchase 50 new 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing Co. (BA) to modernize and expand its fleet. The company's current fleet is comprised of aircraft built by Airbus SE (AIR).

Fastest Growing Airline Stocks

These are the top airline stocks with the highest year-over-year (YOY) sales growth for the most recent quarter. Rising sales can help investors identify companies that are able to grow revenue through organic or new ways, as well as find growing companies that have not yet reached profitability. In addition, earnings per share can be significantly influenced by accounting factors that may not reflect the overall strength of the business. However, sales growth can also be potentially misleading about the strength of a business, because growing sales on money-losing businesses can be harmful if the company has no plan to reach profitability.

Fastest Growing Airline Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) Revenue Growth (%)
Hawaiian Holdings Inc. (HA) 19.34 1.0 569.7
JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) 14.70 4.7 300.8
Azul SA (AZUL) 12.99 1.5 246.7

Source: YCharts

  • Hawaiian Holdings Inc.: Hawaiian Holdings provides air transportation of passengers, cargo, and mail. The company offers services among the Hawaiian Islands as well as between Hawaii and other select destinations, including selected cities in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the South Pacific. Hawaiian Holdings announced in late October financial results for Q3 of its 2021 fiscal year (FY), the three-month period ended Sept. 30, 2021. The company reported net income of $14.7 million, a significant turnaround from the net loss of $97.1 million posted in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose nearly sevenfold YOY. Hawaiian Holdings said that results were adversely affected by the rise of COVID-19 cases associated with the Delta variant, but that the situation had begun to improve by the end of the quarter.
  • JetBlue Airways Corp.: JetBlue Airways is an air carrier that provides passenger services to destinations throughout the U.S., the Caribbean, and Latin America.
  • Azul SA: Azul is a Brazil-based company offering airline services worldwide. Through its subsidiaries, Azul provides passenger and cargo air transportation and related services.

Airline Stocks with the Most Momentum

These are the airline stocks that had the highest total return over the last 12 months.

Airline Stocks with the Most Momentum
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación SAB de CV (VLRS) 17.75 2.1 42.9
American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) 18.75 12.1 18.9
Hawaiian Holdings Inc. (HA) 19.34 1.0 9.3
Russell N/A N/A 30.9
U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) N/A N/A -7.1

Source: YCharts

  • Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación SAB de CV: See above for company description.
  • American Airlines Group Inc.: American Airlines transports passengers and cargo through its worldwide airline network. The company announced in mid-December the nine-person senior leadership team that will report to Robert Isom when he becomes chief executive officer (CEO) on March 31, 2022. Isom is currently president of the company. Several changes were made to the senior team, including the addition of Priya Aiyar as senior vice president of Corporate Affairs and chief legal officer, and David Seymour as senior vice president and chief operating officer (COO).
  • Hawaiian Holdings Inc.: See above for company description.

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  1. The Wall Street Journal. "Omicron Variant Starts to Hit Travel, Business Flights and Events." Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.

  2. YCharts. "Financial Data." Accessed Jan. 4, 2022.

  3. Allegiant Travel Co. "ALLEGIANT ANNOUNCES PURCHASE OF 50 BOEING 737 AIRCRAFT." Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.

  4. The Wall Street Journal. "Allegiant Air to Buy 50 Boeing 737 MAX Jets." Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.

  5. Hawaiian Holdings Inc. "Hawaiian Holdings Reports 2021 Third Quarter Financial Results." Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.

  6. American Airlines Group Inc. "American Airlines Announces Senior Leadership Team." Accessed Jan. 5, 2022.