British Airways and EasyJet enjoy surge as recovery for airlines finally in sight

Omicron: International travel restrictions criticised by expert

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In a boost to some operators, Japan has now retracted a ban on incoming international flights just a day after it was first announced. On Wednesday Japan’s transport ministry sent a request to international airlines to stop taking new bookings for flights to Japan until the end of December. Today however the request has been dropped after attracting criticism from both within Japan and abroad. Wizz Air also announced this morning that passenger numbers had continued to bounce back in November, up 375.7 percent on the same time last year.

Passenger figures for the month stood at 2,171,581 inching closer to pre-pandemic levels of 2,974,812 in November 2019.

Speaking at London’s World Aviation Festival Wizz Air president Robert Carey said: “We will adjust up as we need to and adjust down as we need to, and roll with the restrictions as they change.”

He added that the situation was: “A bit of a roller-coaster.”

Despite the pandemic, the airline has been on a path of expansion, last month announcing the purchase of 102 Airbus A321 aircraft.

It aims to add 26 aircraft to its fleet by the summer of 2022.

Wizz Air’s share price was up over three percent this morning.

Meanwhile British Airways operator IAG edged up just over two percent while easyJet rose over four percent.

Lee Wild, Head of Equity Strategy at Interactive Investor said: “The potential for a recovery once the dust settles continues to attract buyers with a longer-term view.

“It’s the same with EasyJet, another popular stock that could do well when we get further clarity on travel access abroad, especially in Europe where some countries are being hit hard with fresh Covid outbreaks.”

In its results this week easyJet reported bookings for spring and summer next year were already ahead of 2019 levels.

The low-cost airline said it was already seeing growing demand for key periods such as Christmas and the skiing season.

Like Wizz Air it also has its eye on expansion with slot increases at Gatwick, Porto, Linate and Lisbon planned ahead of summer 2022.

Across the industry, hopes are to avoid the sort of far-reaching restrictions on travel previously seen in the height of the pandemic.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) called for caution over travel bans this week, asking countries to apply “an evidence-informed and risk-based approach”.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghberyesus also said he was: “Concerned that several member states are introducing blunt, blanket measures that are not evidence-based or effective on their own, and which will only worsen inequities.”

The WHO have also said early signs suggest the majority of Omicron cases are “mild”.

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