The factor that’s pushing up the airline sector has been the renewal in the global economy, particularly the massive buildup of newfound wealth in the emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. The growth is especially strong in Asia, as China continues to develop a significant middle class and consumer generation who want to spend and travel both domestically and internationally.
Future prospects look bright for the airline sector and are on target for higher profits for the second straight year, based on research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). North America is estimated to retain its top spot in the airline sector, but the Asia-Pacific region is a fast-growing second. (Source: “Industry on Track for Second Year of Improving Profits – Rising Fuel Costs Largely Offset by Increased Demand,” International Air Transport Association web site, March 12, 2014.)
China is estimated to require 5,000 new planes over the next two decades. The key plane makers fulfilling the need will be The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and Embraer S.A. (NYSE:ERJ). Yet China is aggressively developing its own domestic plane for the airline sector called the “COMAC,” which is expected to launch its first regional airliner soon and has plans to deliver longer-range planes by 2018.
The S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF (NYSEARCA:XAR) is near its highest levels in a year and is trading in an upwards channel, based on my technical analysis of the chart below.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
While Boeing is the “Best of Breed” at this time, I also favor the manufacturers of new and retrofit parts to the airline sector.
At the top of my list is B/E Aerospace, Inc. (NASDAQ:BEAV), which has been an excellent growth story over the past decade and a good mid-cap airline sector play in the equities market. The company makes the interior cabin products for both the new and retrofit markets.