NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Airline shares soared Thursday as oil prices plunged on news that the International Energy Agency will release 60 million barrels of oil from its strategic reserve, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's warning that the economy is weaker than expected. United Continental ( UAL - Get Report) rose 5.1% to $25.20, American Airlines ( AMR) rose 5% to $6.04, JetBlue ( JBLU - Get Report) increase 0.7% to $6.12, and Delta ( DAL - Get Report) jumped 3.9% to $9.96. The industry was up 1.6% as a whole.
The airline industry's performance is symptomatic of the massive oil selloff that occurred shortly after the IEA said it would fill in for the loss of Libya's exports. For most of the week, the spotlight has been on Paris as planemaker Airbus has pummeled its American counterpart, Boeing ( BA), in jet orders. Boeing shares were down 0.9% to $71.47. JetBlue made headlines on Wednesday when it
became the first major U.S. carrier to order the new-generation Airbus A320neo. It has been part of a string of good news for the French airplane manufacturer, which claimed more than $72 billion worth of orders since the air show began on Monday. One reason for the success is that in this cash-strapped economy, Airbus claims its A320neo is about 15% more fuel efficient than rival Boeing's 737, which is crucial for the oil-price-conscious commercial airliners. JetBlue's aggressive bidding has given the carrier some attention as most of its U.S. competitors remained dormant buyers. The bold move seems to have paid off in the short term as its stock rose as high as $6.28 on Thursday, a 6.4% boost from Tuesday when it announced the delivery schedule for A320neo planes. The company could also see increased sales over the Independence Day weekend as travelers have been forecast to fly more . Boeing has taken a beating in its duopoly with Airbus. In Paris, it recorded only $22 billion in total orders, about three-times less than Airbus. Boeing could not claim even one of the top two contracts -- worth $22 billion and $18.5 billion -- that were signed; both were record-breaking Airbus orders. A Boeing highlight was a $1.7 billion order from Qatar Airways. Smaller manufacturers are also reeling. Bombardier sealed 30 orders of its jets before expected deals with Qatar Airways and Republic Airways collapsed. The Canadian company rebuffed concerns that the Qatar snub hurt, and said it was only a "marginal negative," Bloomberg reported. Bombardier's shares in Toronto were at $6.52, down 2.5% on Thursday. -- Written by Joe Deaux in New York. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com