The shares of several airlines – including British Airways’ owner IAG, Easyjet and Ryanair – jumped today, as a result of carriers shrugging off concerns about the latest Covid variant, Omicron.
Evidence showing the mild effects of Omicron, which has not yet caused any deaths, has led to IAG going up to 142.26p from a bottom of 127.66p touched last Tuesday. Since 30 November, Ryanair’s stocks have jumped 10.80 per cent, while Easyjet registered a 10.96 per cent hike.
Despite last week’s re-introduction of mandatory PCR tests for those coming into the country, carriers continued to remain positive.
Speaking at London’s World Aviation Festival, Ryanair DAC’s chief executive Eddie Wilson said the airline’s focus remained on next summer, City A.M. reported.
“We were hoping that the demand curve would really get going in January once we got through Christmas but then that had been sort of T-boned by the travel restrictions but we’re still optimistic about next summer, we can see it in terms of pent-up demand,” he said.
Wilson’s words were echoed by other key players. After seeing encouraging signs for next summer, Easyjet’s chief executive Johan Lundgren decided to adopt a more aggressive business strategy, buying slots at main hubs such as London Gatwick.
Airlines’ confidence didn’t waiver even after the UK Government decided to re-introduce mandatory pre-departure tests for all those travelling to England from tomorrow morning.
Calling the measures a “hammer blow” to “an already devastated industry,” leading travel stakeholders slammed the restrictions. “Public safety is a priority, but businesses will fail, travellers will be stranded and livelihoods devastated by the lack of coherent plans from the government,” said Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association.