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Baggage is loaded onto an Air Canada plane at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Aug. 14, 2013. The airline sector is posting huge gains in the markets, and the forecast looks bright.
Baggage is loaded onto an Air Canada plane at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Aug. 14, 2013. The airline sector is posting huge gains in the markets, and the forecast looks bright.
(Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

Is the airline rally a sign of friendlier skies or a short-term lift?

The big rally in North American airline stocks this year is raising an urgent question among investors: Do the gains signal a sustainable shift in the industry or yet another short-term pop?

WestJet Airlines Ltd. is up 40 per cent this year, Southwest Airlines Co. is up 74 per cent, Delta Air Lines Inc. is up 130 per cent and Air Canada is up an amazing 256 per cent, touching its highest level in more than five years.