Top Airline Stocks for Q3 2022

GOL is top for value, while ATSG is top for growth and performance

The airline industry is composed 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., Delta Air Lines Inc., and United Airlines Holdings Inc.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought air travel to a near halt. However, it is roaring back as global economies reopen and the effects of the pandemic begin to fade. Both leisure and business flights have surpassed pre-pandemic levels this year. However, surging fuel costs are weighing on airlines' earnings.

Airline stocks, as represented by the U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS), an airline exchange-traded fund, have vastly underperformed the broader market. JETS has provided a total return of -25.6% over the past 12 months, below the -1.6% total return of the Russell 1000 Index.

Here are the top three airline stocks with the best value, fastest growth, and best performance. The market performance numbers above and all statistics in the tables below are as of June 2, 2022.

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 that you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.

Best Value Airline Stocks
  Price ($) Market Capitalization (Market Cap) ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
Gol Intelligent Airlines Inc. / Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes SA (GOL) 5.85 9.3 2.3
Air Transport Services Group Inc. (ATSG) 31.26 2.3 11.5
Alaska Air Group Inc. (ALK) 47.39 6.0 13.0

Source: YCharts

  • Gol Intelligent Airlines Inc. / Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes SA: Gol Intelligent Airlines is a Brazil-based airline. It provides low-cost domestic and international flight services for corporate and leisure travelers. The company also operates a loyalty program. Gol announced in mid-May that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paulo Kakinoff will transition from the CEO position to become a member of the board of directors. He will be succeeded by Vice-President of Operations Celso Ferrer, effective July 1, 2022.
  • Air Transport Services Group Inc.: Air Transport Services Group provides aircraft leasing as well as cargo and passenger air transportation services. It also offers related services to both domestic and foreign air carriers. The company announced in early May financial results for Q2 of its 2022 fiscal year (FY), the three-month period ended March 31, 2022. Net earnings rose 22.7% on revenue growth of 29.2% compared to the year-ago quarter. The company said that its businesses were operating at pre-pandemic levels.
  • Alaska Air Group Inc.: Alaska Air Group, through its subsidiaries Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, offers airline services. The company, along with its regional partners, serves customers throughout North America and Costa Rica.

Fastest Growing Airline Stocks

These are the top airline stocks as ranked by a growth model that scores companies based on a 50/50 weighting of their most recent quarterly YOY percentage revenue growth and most recent quarterly YOY EPS growth. Both sales and earnings are critical factors in the success of a company. Therefore, ranking companies by only one growth metric makes a ranking susceptible to the accounting anomalies of that quarter (such as changes in tax law or restructuring costs) that may make one figure or the other unrepresentative of the business in general. Companies with quarterly EPS or revenue growth of more than 2,500% were excluded as outliers.

Fastest Growing Airline Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) EPS Growth (%) Revenue Growth (%)
Air Transport Services Group Inc. (ATSG) 31.26 2.3 16.3 29.2
Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY) 87.24 19.8 N/A (see company description) 825.0
SkyWest Inc. (SKYW) 26.48 1.3 -50.7 37.5

Source: YCharts

  • Air Transport Services Group Inc.: See above for company description.
  • Ryanair Holdings PLC: Ryanair Holdings is an Ireland-based ultra-low fare airline. It provides short-haul, point-to-point routes across Europe and to select destinations in Africa and the Middle East. Because Ryanair's EPS was negative, it does not have an EPS growth figure in the table above.
  • SkyWest Inc.: SkyWest offers airline services through its subsidiary SkyWest Airlines and aircraft leasing services through its subsidiary SkyWest Leasing. The company flies travelers to destinations throughout North America. SkyWest announced in late April financial results for Q2 FY 2022, the three-month period ended March 31, 2022. Net income fell 50.6% despite revenue growth of 37.5% compared to the year-ago quarter. The company's operating expenses grew at a faster pace than revenue, weighing on net income.

Airline Stocks with the Best Performance

These are the airline stocks that had the best returns or smallest declines in total return over the past 12 months out of the companies we looked at.

Airline Stocks with the Best Performance
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
Air Transport Services Group Inc. (ATSG) 31.26 2.3 27.4
Copa Holdings SA (CPA) 70.90 2.9 -12.9
Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación SAB de C.V. (VLRS) 14.73 1.7 -16.1
Russell 1000 N/A N/A -1.6
U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) N/A N/A -25.6

Source: YCharts

  • Air Transport Services Group Inc.: See above for company description.
  • Copa Holdings SA: Copa Holdings is a Panama-based provider of airline passenger and cargo services. The Company provides scheduled flights to countries in North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.
  • Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación SAB de C.V.: 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 and leisure travelers bound for destinations in Mexico, the U.S., and Central and South America. Volaris announced in late April financial results for Q1 FY 2022, the three-month period ended March 31, 2022. The company's net loss widened to $49 million from $36 million in the year-ago quarter despite revenue growth of 80.0%. Volaris said that higher operating expenses were driven by higher fuel costs, which have soared since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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  1. CNBC. "For the first time since the pandemic, leisure and business flights surpass 2019 levels."

  2. CNBC. "Get ready for higher fares: Airlines bet surge in travel demand will help offset fuel costs."

  3. YCharts. “Financial Data.”

  4. GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes SA. "Investor Relations." Download "GOL Announces Executive Leadership Transition," Page 1.

  5. Air Transport Services Group Inc. "ATSG Reports Record First Quarter 2022 Results," Pages 1 and 5.

  6. SkyWest Inc. "SkyWest, Inc. Announces First Quarter 2022 Profit," Page 5.

  7. Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación S.A.B. de C.V. "Volaris Reports Financial Results for the First Quarter 2022."

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