AROUND £500 million was added to the value of big airline stocks today as the UK eased entry rules for 47 countries that were subject to the tightest Covid-19 restrictions.
That gives fresh hope to investors and managers that airlines will survive one of those most difficult periods in the industries history.
Easyjet had to raise £1.2 billion from shareholders to shore up its balance sheet just last month. It also rejected a cheeky takeover bid from rival Wizz Air. Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said airlines other than his would have to merge to survive.
BA owner IAG led the risers, up 5% to 182p. The stock had tumbled to 91p a year ago.
Ryanair, Jet 2 and easyjet were also up, adding £500 million in shareholder value according to figures from share dealing app dabbl.
Across Europe, air and travel shares rose, with Lufthansa, On The Beach and WH Smith all on the up.
Hotel shares also rose. Premier Inn owner Whitbread was up 44p to 3259p, IHG rose 40p to 4934p.
Last night the Department for Transport said visitors from places including South Africa, Mexico and Brazil no longer require a 10-day hotel quarantine. Only seven nations -- all in Latin America -- will remain on the so-called red list after changes take effect on Monday.
Sean Doyle, chief executive officer of British Airways, said: “It finally feels like we are seeing light at the end of a very long tunnel.”
This is the second piece of good news for airlines this week.
Two days ago the competition watchdog has closed its investigation into whether Ryanair and British Airways (BA) broke consumer law by failing to offer refunds for flights customers were unable to take during lockdowns imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said customers who could not take flights should be offered full refunds, but the investigation would take too long and be too expensive for the taxpayer to be justified.
**BRITISH Airways has revived its plan for a short-haul subsidiary at Gatwick Airport after coming to a deal with pilots.
Pilots’ union Balpa says its members has approved a revised offer on pay and working hours after an initial proposal was rejected last month.
BA still has to get agreements with cabin crew and other workers however.
The airline said: “We will now further develop our proposal to provide a full-service short-haul subsidiary operation at Gatwick, offering competitive fares to our customers.”
It remains unclear if BA can make the short-haul flights profitable. It admits they were loss making even before Covid and needs to reach a “competitive and sustainable operating cost base”.