Airline shares take off as US relaxes UK and EU travel bans

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Shares of major transatlantic airlines rose after the US announced it was easing strict COVID-19 travel rules imposed by the Trump administration in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The executive order, renewed by President Joe Biden when he took office, banned travel to the US from citizens of several countries, including the EU’s Schengen zone, the UK and Ireland.

Airlines have been pleading with the administration for months to lift the ban after both the UK and the EU lifted restrictions on Americans.


A formal announcement is due later on Monday, but White House pandemic coordinator Jeff Ziants told reporters he expected fully vaccinated Europeans to be able to fly to the US by “early November.”

“International travel is vital to connecting families and friends, fostering small and large businesses, the open exchange of ideas and culture,” said Mr Ziants. “That’s why, with science and public health as our guide, we have developed a new international air travel system that both enhances the safety of Americans at home and increases the safety of international air travel.”

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In this news, shares of IAG, which owns British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus, saw a rise of 11 per cent in London. Engine maker Rolls Royce was also up five per cent.

In Europe, shares of Germany’s Lufthansa and Air France-KLM rose nearly seven per cent.

Wall Street, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines — the US carrier with the most international networks — all saw their share prices rise despite a sell-off in the broader market, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 650 points.

The US will allow air travelers from 26 Schengen countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil, to be fully vaccinated.

The current policy barred non-US citizens from staying in those countries within 14 days.

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