Is Today's Foiled Terrorist Plot a Business Air Travel Tipping Point?

Includes: AAL, BAIRY, UAUA
by: Paul Kedrosky

Could the disrupted in-flight bombs on planes out of the U.K. become a tipping point for business air travel? Longer waits, no laptops, no cell phones, and no water -- while necessary for security reasons -- will make many business travelers (and their investors and boards) think long and hard about the merits and risks of hopping a regularly scheduled plane for that upcoming meeting.

I'm not alone in thinking this way, as well as in thinking that this will continue to drive web video, persistent audio connections, and so on. It will also be good for the fractional flight business, as well as privates.

As an aside, while this plot seems have centered on liquid nitroglycerin, there is ample reason to believe that would-be airborne suicide bombers's use of Semtex (a kind of explosive Silly Putty) would be even more difficult to detect -- and even more catastrophic. See video here of a mere 200g of Semtex detonating on a pressurized Boeing 747.

The airline stocks took a hit on the news. The chart below shows how British Airways' (NYSEARCA:BAB), American's (NASDAQ:AMR) and United's (UAUA) shares have reacted to the news.

BAB-AMR-UAUA 2-day chart:

BAB-AMR-UAUA 2-day chart