Shares of air carriers were broadly higher Monday, following the busiest travel weekend in eight months and more good news on a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
The U.S. Global Jets exchange-traded fund /zigman2/quotes/207744796/composite JETS -0.43% rallied 1.5% in morning trading toward the highest close in five months, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average /zigman2/quotes/210598063/realtime DJT +0.54% climbed 0.7% with all six of its air-carrier components gaining ground.
Among the most active in the sector, shares of American Airlines Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209207041/composite AAL -0.37% rose 4.1%, United Airlines Holding Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205037281/composite UAL -0.41% advanced 2.7% and Delta Air Lines Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite DAL -0.60% hiked up 3.0%.
Data provided from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) showed that 3,052,139 people went through TSA checkpoints over the three days through Sunday, despite calls from top health officials refrain from traveling for Thanksgiving as COVID-19 cases surge. That’s the most people to travel over a weekend since 4.7 million people traveled over the three days ending Sunday, March 15.
Over 1 million people traveled on both Friday and Sunday, with Sunday’s total of 1,047,934 the highest one-day total since 1,257,823 people traveled on March 16.
Not only are more people traveling, they appear to be paying more to do so.
Analyst Helane Becker at Cowen said her research indicates that fares of the domestic routes she tracks for American, Delta and United for the week ended Nov. 16 were up 5.2% from the same period a year ago.
Elsewhere, shares of JetBlue Airways Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207639051/composite JBLU +0.05% gained 0.9%, Alaska Air Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200972303/composite ALK +0.19% rose 1.6%, Southwest Airlines Co. /zigman2/quotes/201071949/composite LUV -0.23% edged up 0.1%, Spirit Airlines Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205782179/composite SAVE +0.29% tacked on 1.9% and Hawaiian Airlines parent Hawaiian Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203188135/composite HA -0.77% rallied 1.7%.
Also helping bolster airline investor enthusiasm, U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN -0.32% /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +0.08% said Monday that the COVID-19 vaccine candidate it was developing with the University of Oxford showed in Phase 3 trials that it can be as much as 90% effective .
That is the third vaccine candidate to show high levels of efficacy, following those of Pfizer Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE -0.99% and BioNTech SE /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX -1.62% last week and of Moderna Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA -1.44% the week before.
The Jets ETF has rallied 26.7% over the past three months, but has still shed 33.1% year to date. In comparison, the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.82% has gained 4.8% the past three months and advanced 10.2% this year.