Airline stocks end 2011 with a sputter and brace for a challenging 2012, reports MarketWatch.

Airline revenue has grown through airfare hikes and more fees, but carriers face volatile fuel prices and a weak global economy.

“It’s going to be another tough year for airlines,” GimmieCredit bond analyst Vicki Bryan told MarketWatch. “We had a rebound in fare pricing earlier this year, but we started to lose that as demand faded. That’s going to continue next year, so even if fuel stays where it is, the weaker pricing will challenge margins and profits.”

The NYSE Arca Airline Index fell more than 30 percent in 2011, compared with a flat Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

The New York Stock Exchange said Thursday that it will delist the stock of Fort Worth-based AMR Corp., the bankrupt parent of American Airlines, on Jan. 5 because shares have traded below $1 for 30 straight days.

Here’s how some other U.S. airline stocks performed in 2011, according to MarketWatch:

  • Shares of Dallas-based Southwest Airlines fell 34 percent.
  • Shares of Delta Air Lines were off nearly 36 percent.
  • Shares of United Continental Holdings lost 21 percent.
  • Shares of US Airways Group plunged about 48 percent.
  • Shares of JetBlue lost 20 percent.
  • Shares of Hawaiian Holdings declined 25 percent.
  • Shares of Alaska Air Group were up 34 percent.
  • Shares of Spirit Airlines Inc. rose 33 percent in the last seven months.

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