Let’s be honest. When it comes to sectors and industries known for tantalizing dividends, airlines might never rival consumer staples, utilities or even technology.
That is not to say the recently launched U.S. Global Jets ETF (NYSEArca: JETS) does not offer dividend growth potential. It does.
Last week, Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL), JETS’ largest holding, said “that it plans $6 billion in new stock buybacks and added dividends through 2017, the biggest single cash return to shareholders by an airline,” reports Jack Nicas for the Wall Street Journal.
Delta, 12.6% of JETS’ weight, boosted its quarterly dividend 50% to 13.5 cents per share. Southwest (NYSE: LUV), the longest-tenured dividend payer among airlines, also said last week it is boosting its quarterly dividend 25% to 7.5 cents per share each quarter. Texas-based Southwest also unveiled a $1.5 billion share buyback plan. Southwest is the second-largest holding in JETS at a weight of 11.4%. [New Airline ETF Could be a Success]
Airline dividend yields remain low. For example, Delta yields 0.8% while Southwest yields 0.6%. However, the dividend growth is there. Delta’s dividend has more than doubled in two years. Southwest’s payout is up sixfold over that period. American Airlines (NasdaqGS: AAL), which yields 0.8%, introduced a dividend last year. American is JETS’ third-largest holding at a weight of 11.1%.
“Over the past five years, dividends for the industry as a whole have increased 143%, according to Thomson Reuters data,” reports Michael Vallo for Barron’s.