Firms in the global airline sector need to make value creation a priority if they are to appeal to investors.
That's the view of heavyweight broker Deutsche, which has published an extensive note on the sector.
It notes that the majority of such global enterprises "fail" to produce returns that exceed their cost of capital.
"We believe this is largely a function of the fact that most global airlines are not publicly-traded companies subject to the oversight of a shareholder-elected board of directors, but rather an extension of a sovereign nation’s policy to enhance commerce and stimulate international air travel of both passengers and cargo," say Deutsche analysts.
It also highlights the sluggish global economy and historically high fuel costs as contributing factors to the failure to generate returns.
"An airline management team that is focused on value creation should be able to appropriately and efficiently allocate capital between investments, creditors, and shareholders," says the broker.
"This type of behavior should result in improved profitability, reduced earnings volatility, lower debt financing costs, as well as investors much more willing to ascribe a lower equity risk premium to an airline equity investment."
The team has identified nine publicly traded stocks, which it thinks are leaders in creating value.
They are AirAsia, Alaska, Allegiant, Cebu Air, Copa, Delta, easyJet, Lufthansa, and Ryanair.
It also highlights IAG and Southwest as "turnaround" stories where recent actions have underlined the management's commitment to restoring returns on investment to their "rightful" place among the most profitable and sharholder friendly global airlines.