NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The airline sector has made heavy advances in afternoon trading, on the heels of Morgan Stanley ( MS ) touting the sector's attractiveness.

The Amex Airline index has gone up by 3.5% to $29.50.

"Now that ... previously exuberant expectations have normalized as evidenced by price action in the last one to two months versus improving trends and ... the risk of a liquidity squeeze at a major carrier in 2010 has fallen; we believe investors will become increasingly willing to bet on the cycle," wrote Morgan Stanley analyst William J. Greene in a note to investors cited by the Wall Street Journal.

Greene has boosted his outlook for the sector to attractive from in-line.

On top of that, he also lifted his ratings on AMR ( AMR) and UAL ( UAUA) to overweight from equalweight and lowered his ratings on Alaska Air ( ALK) to underweight from equalweight.

UAL stock has soared 11.3% to $9.20. AMR has risen 6.8% to $6.70. Delta ( DAL) shares are also up, 7.2% to $9.20. Another big gainer is US Airways ( LCC), which has added 6.8% to $3.90. Continental Airlines ( CAL)stock has risen 4.8% to $15.70.

After a ratings cut from JP Morgan, shares of Alaska Air tumbled 2.1% to land at $30.30.

One of the largest anomalies in today's airline sector has been China Eastern Airlines ( CEA), which has taken a 6.6% fall to $37.80.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York.

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