Best airline stocks to buy in 2021

The airline industry is making a post-pandemic recovery, companies are focused on growth and this peaks investor interest. This page will highlight the top five airline stocks on the market this year.
By: Srijani Chatterjee
Srijani Chatterjee
Srijani is the quintessential Third Culture Kid having grown up in India, Singapore, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Scotland, and England.… read more.
Updated: Dec 7, 2021
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This page covers the basics of the airline industry and why you may want to invest in airline stocks. The focus is on the best options available today to help you get started.

What are the top airline stocks to buy?

You can own shares in some of the most successful airline companies by investing in stocks within the airline industry. Our experts have been through the stock market to choose their favourites and you can find them ranked in the table below. Click the links to find up to date price information or read on for a summary of each company in turn.

#Stock tickerCompany name
1LUVSouthwest Airlines
2DALDelta Air Lines, Inc.
3AALAmerican Airlines Group
4JBLUJetBlue Airways Corp.
5EZJEasyJet PLC
List selected by our team of analysts, updated 07 December 2021.

1. Southwest Airlines [NYSE: LUV]

Southwest Airlines is a major American airline group. A promising company for post-pandemic travel recovery, their stock is attractive to investors as they are the world’s largest low-cost carrier servicing 121 destinations in America and 10 other countries. 

There was a downturn in profits in 2020, but Southwest has made a strong revenue recovery in 2021 – a trend that is expected to continue. Supported by strong current financials in terms of its cash to debt ratio, market forces should enable LUV stock to recoup short-term dips.  

Furthermore, the lull in air travel has not impacted Southwest’s operations as adversely as its competitors because the company’s majority focus is on regional air travel. As American regional airports are now completely open for air travel without restrictions as severe as those for international travel, Southwest is well-positioned to overcome the pandemic downturn.

2. Delta Air Lines, Inc. [NYSE: DAL]

Delta Air Lines, Inc. is an American carrier that operates both domestically and internationally. The company’s segments include both airline and refinery, making it a viable stock for investors old and new. The company currently enjoys market presence and has commercial hubs across airports in Amsterdam, London, Mexico City, Seoul, and Paris.

Also experiencing the industry-trend of a downturn in profits during the pandemic, Delta has a promising business development strategy in place for post-pandemic recovery. 

Though a significant industry-wide concern affecting risk assessment for Delta stock is the highly competitive industry. Delta’s prices are often higher than lower-budget airlines and this places significant pressure on the company’s future performance in a stiff post-pandemic market. Investors must consider this unique risk when considering DAL for their portfolio.

3. American Airlines Group [NASDAQ: AAL]

American Airlines Group is a holding company primarily operating as a network air carrier transporting passengers and cargo through regional America. It has numerous regional hubs in its American segment, several multinational partner gateways, and notable subsidiaries.

Having experienced a decrease in revenue during the pandemic like its contemporaries in the industry, it has made a solid comeback with its post-pandemic financials. Between January and September of 2021, revenues for the group have increased by 54% and net losses have decreased by 84%. 

However, it must be noted that the company’s sizable debt currently outweighs its market cap and this is a risk factor a new investor must contend with when considering the addition of AAL to their portfolio.

4. JetBlue Airways Corp. [NASDAQ: JBLU]

JetBlue Airways Corp. is an American travel company providing air transportation services across regional America, Latin America, The Caribbean, and between London and New York. It currently enjoys more than 30 million passengers a year for its destination map of 86 cities.

In their attempt to overcome the downturn in pandemic revenue, JetBlue’s commercial strategy for recovery has been to add ~125 new routes to their destination map (particularly in Latin America), cut costs with an expected fall in the price of fuel, and roll out competitive economy class pricing.

Though a unique risk new investors to the stock must weigh is JetBlue’s heavy reliance on its expansion strategy for Latin America – an easy downfall if the economy slumped in the region. 

5. EasyJet PLC [LSE: EZJ]

EasyJet PLC is a UK company that operates a low-cost European airline. It is hugely popular for point-to-point European travel and currently serves approximately 156 airports across 33 countries. 

The worst of the pandemic seems to be over with the UK removing all travel bans and EasyJet’s popular short-haul market being clear now for weeks. This is evident in EasyJet delivering a positive operating cash flow of £40m in Q4 despite the pandemic downturn in profits. This renews investor optimism in the stock, reflecting stable company liquidity for the future.

Though with new lockdowns enforced across the continent, new investors to the stock must consider the risk of looming UK travel bans with the ongoing pandemic. While post-pandemic air travel persists, EasyJet can be a great short to medium term investment with adequate risk assessment. 

Where to buy the best airline stocks

The best place to find all of these shares is through an online stock broker. We have pulled together the best brokers below so that you can get a quick start simply by following the links in the table.

1
Min. Deposit
$50
Promotion
User Score
10
Trade/invest in stocks with just $50
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Over 11 payment methods, including PayPal
Start Trading
Description:
eToro is a multi-asset investment platform with more than 2000 assets, including FX, stocks, ETF’s, indices and commodities. eToro users can connect with, learn from, and copy or get copied by other users. Buying stocks on eToro is free and you can invest with as little as $50.
Payment Methods
Bank Transfer, Wire Transfer
Full regulations list:
CySEC, FCA
eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about eToro. Your capital is at risk.
2
Min. Deposit
$1
Promotion
User Score
9.3
0 Commissions and no deposit minimums
Registered with and regulated by SEC and FINRA
Loss of cash protection
Start Trading
Description:
Financial company driven by technology and offering all-in-one self-directed investment platform that provides excellent user experience.
Payment Methods
Full regulations list:

What is an airline stock?

A stock in the airlines sector that comprises companies operating commercial and/or cargo fleets of air transport. Popular companies that attract investor interest are household names like Delta Airlines, EasyJet, American Airlines, etc.

Are airline stocks a good investment?

If you invest with a view of the long term, yes. Any investment made must be without expectation of quick profit and with the view of long-term hold for return in investment. The main concern in the short term is that the industry heavily relies on the price and supply of fuel and fuel prices have incurred dramatic increases in the last year – meaning unpredicted future costs for airline companies.

The International Trade Association (IATA) has indicated that due to the ongoing pandemic, it is expected that long-haul air travel will be slower in recovering, and international air travel may not recover to pre-pandemic levels till 2023-2024. However, the good news is that post-pandemic recovery in the short term looks promising for domestic and short-haul air travel.

As with any stock investment, investors must do their own due diligence into the stock and broker that is the right fit for them. You will find our list of the best brokers for airline stock listed below.

Latest airline stock news

Apple shares have weakened from their recent highs above $140, and the current price stands around $128. Apple reported better than expected second-quarter results last week, and the company increased the quarterly dividend by 7.3%. Fundamental analysis: Morgan Stanley raised its target on Apple from $158 to $161 Apple shares…
Under Armour (NYSE: UAA) shares have weakened from their recent highs despite better than expected first-quarter results. The U.S. stock market is losing some ground this Tuesday, which also negatively influences Under Armour shares. Fundamental analysis: Under Armour shares are not undervalued Under Armour is an American sports equipment…
McDonald’s shares advanced after the company reported better than expected first-quarter results and closed the week at $236,08. Fundamental analysis: UBS raised its price target from $240 to $255 Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, this company’s business is going well, and McDonald’s reported better than expected first-quarter results last week.
Amazon shares have advanced above $3500 after better than expected first-quarter results, and according to the technical analysis, shares of this company could advance even more. Fundamental analysis: Amazon’s business continues to grow rapidly Amazon’s business continues to grow rapidly, and the company has become a supply channel for many…
Nokia reported better than expected first-quarter results this Thursday, shares have stabilized above the $4 support level, and the company seems well-positioned for earnings growth in the upcoming period. Fundamental analysis: Nokia is well-positioned for earnings growth Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational telecommunications, information technology, and consumer electronics company…
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) shares have weakened from their record highs above $260, and the current price stands around $254. Microsoft reported better than expected third-quarter results this Tuesday, and according to the technical analysis, shares of this company continue to trade in a bull market. Fundamental analysis: Microsoft reported…

Fact-checking & references

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Srijani Chatterjee
Financial Writer
Srijani is the quintessential Third Culture Kid having grown up in India, Singapore, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Scotland, and England. She still loves to travel and speaks… read more.