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United, Hawaiian, Spirit to benefit most from Boeing 737 Max grounding

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The Boeing 737 Max 8, a plane now grounded in most of the world including the US following two deadly crashes in five months, doesn’t account for much of the US air traffic, but it could still be good news for carriers looking to snap up market share from their competitors’ affected routes.

Spirit is most likely to benefit, as well as Hawaiian, American, and Alaskan, according to calculations by Joseph DeNardi, an analyst at Stifel.

Southwest, American, and United fly the plane in the US, and the forced grounding has already affected some of their routes. Of the competitors that fly the same route but on un-affected planes, Spirit has the most overlap. That’s according to calculations by Joseph DeNardi, an analyst at Sitfel, using Available Seat Miles, or ASMs, a key metric watched by airline investors and analysts.

Stifel

“The data suggests that Southwest’s deployment of the MAX is broad and not concentrated in any particular market which results in Spirit having the most overlap with MAX capacity,” DeNardi said in a note to clients Thursday. “As a result, we see SAVE as most likely to gain share as a result of what is likely to be less than planned capacity from LUV for as long as the grounding persists.”

Read more:Boeing’s software update to the 737 Max 8 was reportedly delayed more than a month because of the government shutdown

Southwest only launched flights to Hawaii this month. And while the low-cost carrier isn’t running that route with 737 Max 8’s right now, the long-distance version of Southwest’s preferred plane appears to be ripe for the over-ocean route.

“We see Hawaiian as a beneficiary due to (1) likely less capacity from United’s 737 MAXs into Hawaii and (2) a delay in additional growth from Southwest,” DeNardi said. “Beyond Spirit and Hawaiian, American and Alaska should benefit due to (1) less capacity in Dallas which is a primary market for the MAX helping American’s growth later this year into DFW and (2) Alaska benefiting from less capacity into Hawaii.”

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