UK-listed airline stocks enjoyed a widespread rally in early trading on Friday as the UK government announced a further easing of overseas travel restrictions.

The new rules will allow fully vaccinated travellers to take cheaper lateral flow tests rather than the more expensive PCR tests on their return to England and Wales – Scotland has its own regulations. This is for all countries not on the government’s ‘red list’.

Importantly for the travel industry, the looser instructions will come into effect on 24 October, in time for the October half-term holiday in the UK which runs from 25 to 29 October.

‘This is great news and we’re pleased to get it over the line in time for the crucial half-term period, which will be a massive relief to families desperate to get away this autumn,’ said Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK registered carriers.

‘Vaccinated passengers can be reassured that they do not need to book or take an expensive PCR test when they return to the UK, which will further reduce the cost of travel.’

SECTOR’S SHARE PRICE REVIVAL

The UK’s listed airline companies all saw share prices rises on Friday in response to the looser rules, led by rough 3% gains of BA-owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) and budget carrier EasyJet (EZJ), to 182.3p and 649.8p respectively.

Ryanair (RYA), Wizz Air (WIZZ) and Jet2 (JET2), which also provides package holidays, all traded higher on hopes of a surge in last minute bookings in time for the school holidays.

The latest update follows in the footsteps of last week’s announcement when the government also slashed the number of countries on the red list and removed the complicated traffic light system for international arrivals.

‘It adds to the positive news from last week with the substantial reduction of the red list and announcement of further mutual recognition of vaccines, and taken together this is a major step forward that will support the desperately needed recovery of our sector,’ Alderslade added.

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 15 Oct 2021