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Airline stocks fall after Delta system outage, airport demonstrations

Airplanes wait at airport
Nick Gunderson | Getty Images

Airline stocks tumbled Monday amid concerns that President Donald Trump's travel ban could be disruptive to air travel and after carrier Delta Airines experienced a systems outage that grounded its domestic U.S. flights Sunday evening.

The ban restricting travelers from seven countries sparked demonstrations at airports across the country.

The Delta outage occurred on Sunday, resulting in the cancellation of 150 flights. The carrier resumed limited operations Monday morning. In a statement posted on the Atlanta-based airline's website at 11:45 p.m. ET Sunday, CEO Ed Bastian apologized to customers who were impacted by this "frustrating situation."

President Trump tweeted about the outage, blaming Delta and protesters demonstrating against his controversial executive order for creating congestion at airports Sunday.

The Dow Jones transportation average fell 1 percent on Monday. American Airlines fell 4.4 percent, United Continental declined 3.6 percent, and Delta fell 4.1 percent. Those stocks, including JetBlue and Southwest, which fell 1.5 percent and 0.7 percent respectively, weighed on the index.

"There was the issue with Delta, but it's more about whether does air travel get more complicated," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

CFRA Research analyst Jim Corridore doesn't see President's Trumps orders to be a major disruption to the airline sector. In a note to investors, he says "the travel ban is not likely to impact demand much, as not many people travel to/from the affected countries."

However, Corridore points out that Delta's tech outage highlights "risks of airline technology infrastructure, much of which is old and patched with differing systems." Together, these issues raise risks related to airlines, but Corridore is still positive on the sector due to "solid demand, strong profits and cash flows and improved balance sheets."

The NYSE Arca Airline Index fell 1.8 percent. The index has soared 40 percent over the past 12 months.