A bankrupt airline's stock has soared 130% this year, even though it hasn't flown once in 2020

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A bankrupt airline's stock has soared 130% this year, even though it hasn't flown once in 2020
Jet Airways planes.Reuters

  • A bankrupt carrier that hasn't flown once in 2020 is the world's best-performing airline stock this year, according to Bloomberg.
  • Shares in Jet Airways have jumped more than 130% this year, striking a sharp contrast to the 42% slump in the Bloomberg Airlines Index over the same period.
  • The Indian carrier's rally is surprising, not least because it faces about $3.4 billion in outstanding claims, most of its airport slots have been seized, and it has almost no employees, Bloomberg said.
  • Jet's stock-price gain echoes the nine-fold increase in Hertz shares after the car-rental company filed for bankruptcy in May.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The best-performing airline stock in the world this year is a bankrupt carrier that hasn't flown since 2019, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Jet Airways shares have soared more than 130% this year, compared to a 42% slump for the Bloomberg World Airlines Index, which comprises 27 of the world's largest carriers.

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The share-price increase is puzzling because the Indian airline remains mired in the bankruptcy process. Stockholders almost always lose out in bankruptcies as suppliers, creditors, and other parties' claims on assets take priority.

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Jet also faces claims totaling about $3.4 billion from close to 17,000 creditors, most of its airport slots have been seized, and it has virtually no employees anymore, Bloomberg said.

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The group recently got the green light from creditors to proceed with a resolution plan, but there's little to suggest it will restart flights anytime soon. Retail investors may be bidding up Jet's shares in the hope it makes a comeback after restructuring, or because they see value in its assets, Bloomberg reported.

The breathless rise in Jet's stock price echoes the 800% surge in Hertz shares after the car-rental giant filed for bankruptcy in late May. That buying frenzy was fueled by day traders speculating on apps such as Robinhood.

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Jet faces a difficult backdrop, as airlines continue to suffer from pandemic-related travel restrictions and virus fears weighing on passenger numbers. The industry's mounting challenges spurred billionaire investor Warren Buffett to dump his stakes in the "big four" US carriers in April.

While Jet shares have rallied, they are still more than 90% below their level at the start of 2018.

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