Airlines and tour operators have had a tough time during the pandemic with their recovery still far from guaranteed, but that hasn’t stopped their share prices from climbing in the past six months.

In fact, such has been the ascent of some airlines’ share prices that even the company bosses are taking the chance to cash in some of their shares.


Budget airline Wizz Air (WIZZ) has been on a storming run since November, rising from around £31 to an all-time high of over £53 today, with the emergence of multiple coronavirus vaccines giving hope of a recovery in holidays and air travel this summer – the crucial trading period for airlines and package holiday firms alike.

But perhaps in a sign investors could be getting ahead of themselves, chief executive Jozsef Varadi has used the opportunity to sell 120,000 shares at £53.17 each in a deal worth almost £6.4 million.

A number of other Wizz Air directors have also taken the chance to sell shares at a similar price.

It comes as the low cost carrier flew 383,000 passengers in February, 17% of its normal operating capacity, at a 70% passenger load factor (i.e. how full the planes are).


Friedrich Joussen, chief executive of Anglo-German tour operator TUI (TUI), also used a big jump in his company’s share price to sell some shares.

TUI shares are still well below their pre-pandemic level, despite high levels of pent-up demand with the firm reporting a 500% surge in bookings the day after plans for easing lockdown were unveiled, as it continues with a weak balance sheet and ballooning net debt which has grown to a staggering €7 billion amid the pandemic.

In the past week Joussen sold 420,000 of the company’s Frankfurt-listed shares at €4.48 each, and then another 395,000 shares at €4.94 each, in deals worth a combined €3.83 million.


Meanwhile one boss who’s been a buyer of his company’s shares is Andrew Heath, chief executive of FTSE 250 precision measurement firm Spectris (SXS), who bought shares alongside two other senior directors.

Heath bought around 5,000 shares at £30.19 each in a deal worth almost £150,000, while chief financial officer Derek Harding bought over 3,000 shares in a transaction totaling around £95,000.

All the buying occurred at prices of £30 or above, a level the company’s share price has never reached before. The directors topped up their holdings shortly after Thursday’s full year results which confirmed a strong end to 2020, alongside plans for share buybacks worth £200 million, equivalent to about 5% of its market cap.

For a full list of the week’s most significant trades, click here.

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Issue Date: 04 Mar 2021