Travel and aviation stocks stumble due to fears of a new variant of the Covid virus | Travel and Leisure

Shares in travel and airline companies, including British Airways owner IAG and easyJet and aerodynamic maker Rolls-Royce, fell on Friday on concerns that a new variant of the coronavirus was being described as Possibly the worst identified so far It may lead to a new wave of global pandemic restrictions.

The emergence of the new variant, which was identified on Tuesday and feared to be more transmissible and pose a threat to existing vaccines, prompted the government to re-place six South African countries on England’s travel red list Thursday night.

Flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini It will be suspended from midday Friday. Officials are also reviewing a number of travel procedures, including whether the use of PCR tests for limited arrivals should be reintroduced.

The news led to a sharp sell-off in travel stocks on Friday, as IAG, which also owns Iberia airline, tumbled as much as 14% in early trading.

IAG was the biggest loser among the FTSE 100 stocks combined Rolls-RoyceWhich gets revenue based on the number of hours flying aircraft using its engines, which is down about 12%. Shares of InterContinental Hotels and Whitbread, owner of the Premier Inn hotel chain, fell 7%.

The FTSE index The 100 fell 3% to its lowest level in six weeks on Friday morning as markets across Europe and Asia Pacific countries sold out.

said Susanna Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdowne.

Among the biggest decliners in the British FTSE 250 Index is the cruise company carnival, which fell 14%, holiday package companies Tui and easyJet each fell about 12%.

Shares in SSP, which operates the Caffè Ritazza and Upper Crust chains in transportation hubs, and W Smiththat operate at airports and train stations, also decreased by about 12%. Other miners include Wizz Air, Compass Catering and Informa Events.

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Health Minister Sajid Javid said the government and scientists were “extremely concerned” about the B.1.1.529 variant, which has more than 50 mutations compared to the original strain.

“This may indicate that it may be more transmissible and that the current vaccines we have may be less effective,” Javid said.

While only 59 cases have been identified so far, and none in the UK, one scientist described the new variant as “the worst we’ve seen so far”.

Concerns that alternative B.1.1.529 might hit the global recovery has also led to lower oil prices. Brent crude fell 4.5 percent to $78.31 (58.75 pounds) a barrel.

last week, Approximately 2 billion pounds sterling The value of UK airlines and travel-related businesses has been wiped out after Austria’s decision to shut down a national raised fears of new pandemic restrictions across Europe.

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