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Airline Stocks: How to Fly Safely

Airplane Takeoff
Airplane Takeoff

Airline stocks have lost a lot of altitude in the last few months -- but Raymond James airline analyst James Parker sees some names getting a lot of lift.

"High fuel prices may cause some capacity to come out," he told CNBC's Phil Lebeau.

"That means the revenue per aircraft is going to go up, and, certainly, the airlines need that to counterbalance fuel."

Parker sees Southwest Airlines ready for takeoff.

"In uncertain economic times like we have now...good companies go on sale, and Southwest is off some 30 percent from its high last year, and is definitely a good company with a great balance sheet," he said. "Southwest would be the prime beneficiary of legacy carriers taking capacity out."

JetBlue is another airline he likes.

"JetBlue has had a very big bounce in the last couple of days," he said. "They provided some guidance that was very positive, so the momentum has turned positive for JetBlue."

The prospect of consolidation among legacy airlines -- with Delta Air Lines almost certain to be involved -- raises Parker's view of discount airline AirTran.

"If Delta and Northwest get together, then there's going to be capacity coming out -- and AirTran's primary market is in Atlanta, where Delta is also based as well," he said.

Parker's firm co-managed a follow-on offering for JetBlue in November 2005.

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