Airline Stock Roundup: LUV’s Long-Serving CEO to Step Down, RYAAY in Focus

In the past week, Gary Kelly, who has been serving Southwest Airlines LUV as its CEO since 2004, announced that he will relinquish his post in early 2022. This Dallas-based carrier was also in news when it reportedly decided to increase the minimum remuneration of its nearly 7,000 employees to $15 an hour. The strategic move is aimed at retaining/attracting workers as air-travel demand picks up.

Notably, the raises, which will be effective Aug 1, will be in the 7-11% range for the new hirees. Moreover, this pay-hike plan will cover the call center operators, customer service agents, skycaps and others. However, the company will have to negotiate with labor unions before the increased wage materializes for some labor groups.

Meanwhile, Ryanair Holdings RYAAY announced the addition of 200,000 seats on flights from the United Kingdom to Malta and the Balearics (Ibiza and Palma) for July, August and September. This follows the U.K. government’s decision to include these islands on the green list for travel, which allows people to visit these places without having to quarantine (provided their COVID-19 test results are negative) themselves on their return. The relaxation is set to be implemented on Jun 30. Recap of the Past Week’s Most Important Stories

1. Southwest Airlines picked company veteran Robert Jordan to succeed Gary Kelly as its new CEO, once the latter steps down in February 2022. Kelly, however, plans to serve as the company’s executive chairman through 2026. Notably, Jordan joined the carrier in 1988 and currently serves as its executive vice president, corporate services. He played a crucial role in several transformational measures taken by the company.

Southwest Airlines currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

2. Delta Air Lines DAL expanded its codeshare agreement with Kenya Airways, thereby boosting connectivity between the United States and Africa. The agreement builds on the two airlines’ existing codeshare network to offer smooth travel to 39 cities across Africa, the United States and Canada. As part of this extended deal, customers can have access to flights operated by Kenya Airways on the routes to Monrovia, Liberia and Freetown in Sierra Leone where Delta shared its code.

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