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Airline News: Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL), Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV), US Airways Group, Inc. (LCC) & More

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Editor’s Note: Related tickers: Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV), US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE:LCC), United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ:JBLU), Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE:ALK), Spirit Airlines Incorporated (NASDAQ:SAVE), Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT), The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), AMR Corporation (PINK:AAMRQ)

Delta’s Brazilian Partner Gets Ex-Im Backing (GlobalAtlanta)
Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL)‘s Brazilian partner has received loan guarantees totaling $45.5 million from the Export-Import Bank of the United States to support their engine maintenance contract. GOL Linhas Aereas S.A. ships aircraft engines to be serviced in Atlanta by Delta TechOps, the airline’s maintenance, repair and overhaul unit. Delta performs more than half GOL’s aircraft maintenance. GOL received a similar guarantee last April for $84.8 million. The Ex-Im Bank provides backing for foreign firms purchasing American products, aiming to level the playing field for U.S. exporters.

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL)

Delta Air Lines Price Target Increased to $23.00 by Analysts at Cowen Securities (DAL) (DailyPolitical)
Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) had its price target lifted by Cowen Securities from $19.00 to $23.00 in a research note released on Thursday morning, Analyst Ratings.Net reports. They currently have an outperform rating on the stock. DAL has been the subject of a number of other recent research reports. Analysts at Imperial Capital raised their price target on shares of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) from $20.00 to $23.00 in a research note to investors on Wednesday, May 8th. They now have an outperform rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at Barclays Capital raised their price target on shares of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) from $22.00 to $23.00 in a research note to investors on Tuesday, May 7th. They now have an overweight rating on the stock. Finally, analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) Cazenove raised their price target on shares of Delta Air Lines from $19.00 to $20.50 in a research note to investors on Wednesday, May 1st.

Short Interest in Delta Air Lines Surges (Benzinga)
Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) had the only sizable upswing in short interest in the U.S. airline industry between the April 15 and April 30 settlement dates. The number of shares sold short in United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) and U.S. Airways (NYSE: LCC) also increased somewhat. We take a closer look at these three below. Short interest in JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ:JBLU) and Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) remained essentially flat during the period. And Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE:ALK) and Spirit Airlines Incorporated (NASDAQ:SAVE) saw their short interest decline somewhat. Furthermore, in late April short sellers shied away from manufacturers Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) and The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), as the latter’s 787 Dreamliner prepared to resume flying after being grounded due to problems with its batteries.

Southwest Airlines Receives “Neutral” Rating from Zacks (LUV) (DailyPolitical)
Zacks reissued their neutral rating on shares of Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) in a research report released on Thursday morning, AnalystRatings.Net reports. Zacks currently has a $15.00 price target on the stock. Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We are maintaining our Neutral recommendation on Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV), following better-than-expected first-quarter results. The company’s top line results met our expectation while earnings surpassed it based on fleet restructuring, introduction of various customer friendly programs and the effects of the AirTran integration. In the coming quarters, Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) is expected to perform impressively owing to various initiatives to improve revenues and trim costs.

Airport in talks with Southwest to resume service at Sarasota-Bradenton (Bradenton)
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is keeping an open dialogue with Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) despite its marketing encouraging travelers to not fly with the carrier. Rick Piccolo, president and chief executive officer of the airport, told his Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority board Monday morning that the two sides are talking again. …Southwest’s AirTran service left SRQ airport in 2012, and the airport started a Do You SRQ? marketing campaign to have passengers and organizations pledging to use the airport and its carriers, basically nixing Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) out of the equation.

United to resume 787 flying on May 20 (9News)
United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) expects to start flying its Boeing 787s again on May 20. The 787s had been grounded because of concerns about smoldering batteries, but they have been returning to the skies. Ethiopian Airlines was the first to fly a 787 again, on April 27. The first United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) flight will be from Houston to Chicago. A spokeswoman for United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) says the first flights will be around the U.S. She says international flights will begin when the airline uses the 787 for new flights from Denver to Tokyo starting June 10. The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) is putting a new battery system on 50 of the 787s that have been delivered around the world.

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