Some airlines planning to step up growth in 2011

10/27/2010 | Bloomberg

While most of the airline industry is hewing to a slow-growth strategy in an effort to maintain profits, several carriers have announced plans for more aggressive capacity increases, arousing caution among analysts. JetBlue Airways says it will boost capacity by about 10% this quarter and add nine new jets to its fleet next year, while Alaska Airlines plans to grow by as much as 9%. Meanwhile, AirTran Airways says it will add six new aircraft as it prepares to be acquired by Southwest Airlines, which in turn is forecasting an 8% capacity increase in the first quarter. "While each plan is well thought out and makes strategic sense for each carrier, we feel these moves bear watching, including competitive responses getting out of hand," notes analyst Michael Derchin of CRT Capital Group.

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