A couple sitting on the beach
State of emergency warning lifted in Rhodes /Image source: Adobe
  • Ryanair first quarter revenue up 40% to €2.60 billion
  • British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) swings to profit
  • London's Stansted airport reports a 13% increase in passenger numbers

Shares in airlines and holiday companies including EasyJet (EZJ), Jet2 (JET2:AIM), TUI (TUI) and International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) took a battering as wildfires ripped through popular holiday destinations in Corfu, Crete, and Rhodes on 24 July.

EasyJet canceled package holidays departing for Rhodes between 23 and 25 July. Jet2 and TUI canceled all flights to Rhodes until 28 July.

It has been over a week since the wildfires were first reported by the media, and in certain areas the wildfires have died down.

There is also no longer a state of emergency or a need for holidaymakers to be airlifted to safety and flown back home to the UK and other destinations in Europe or the US.

SHRUGGING OFF DISASTER

Shares in IAG have staged a recovery since the wildfires were first reported by the media and are now up over 6% in the past month to 167p helped by a strong set of first half results.

The British Airway’s and Iberia owner swung to an operating profit before exceptional items of €1.26 billion for the six months to 30 June 2023 compared to a loss of €417 million a year earlier.

The airline group said ‘customer demand remains strong particularly with leisure customers with around 80% of the third quarter’s passenger revenue already booked.’

REBOUND FOR BUDGET AIRLINES

Ryanair (RYA:EURONEXT) also reported a strong set of results for the first quarter ending 30 June 2023 buoyed by a ‘strong Easter and the extra UK Coronation bank holiday in May.’

The company reported first quarter profits of €663 million compared to a ‘Ukraine affected’ year-ago first quarter of €170 million.

Customer numbers were up 11% to 45.5 million, the load factor stood at 95% as of 30 June 2023 up 3 percentage points, and revenue was up 40% to €2.60 billion.

GOOD NEWS FOR STANSTED

London’s third airport Stansted reported a 13% increase in passenger numbers year-on-year to 2.8 million in July, equivalent to 102% of the volume served in July 2019, according to a report by City A.M.

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‘This was our busiest July ever and the third busiest month on record at London Stansted,’ said London Stansted managing director Gareth Powell.

London Stansted is dominated by low-budget airline (RYA:EURONEXT) with more than 100 destinations served by the airline.

Stansted is the UK’s fourth-largest airport, after Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW) and Manchester (MAN) serving over 160 destinations across Europe, Asia, and Africa.

EXPERT VIEW

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell said: ‘Low-cost airlines are having a whale of a time thanks to the sharp rebound in travel demand. The decision to expand fleet capacity during the cost-of-living crisis was a calculated risk and the move is now paying off.

“Ryanair grew its traffic by 9% year-on-year in June, while keeping its planes 95% full on average. Wizz Air (WIZZ) saw even bigger growth in demand, carrying 22.5% more passengers in the month at a load factor of 92.2% (June 2022: 86.1%).

“Strike action remains the key hurdle to clear, particularly over the all-important summer period. Air traffic controllers downing tools caused 160,000 Ryanair customers to suffer from cancelled flights in June. There are additional airport and airline-related strikes threatened for the coming months which could see big delays or cancellations, causing further mayhem.’

DISCLAIMER: AJ Bell is the owner of Shares magazine. The author (Sabuhi Gard) and editor (Ian Conway) own shares in AJ Bell.

 

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Issue Date: 07 Aug 2023