U.S. has lifted restrictions for vaccinated international travelers
Airline stocks are soaring as travel restrictions are being stripped away for international travelers coming to the United States.
The U.S. officially opened its borders to vaccinated travelers coming into the country, a move that aligns it with others who have signaled they plan to work to live with COVID-19, rather than simply attempt to eliminate transmission.
Investors are now banking on sales increasing for airlines who can now book travelers that have not been able to travel to the U.S. for more than a year and a half.
American Airlines and Delta Airlines shares are up 14% and 13%, respectively so far this month, while British Airways and Air France have also seen their securities increase.
Airlines across Europe have reported that they are operating with flights at full or near-full capacity, including the Lufthansa Group, which told CNN Business it had 31 flights that were fully booked on Monday.
Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, has said that 98% of its flights are full, while British Airways and Swiss Air reported that its flights were on the full side.
While things are looking up for travelers and airlines, it still could take a while for business to return completely to normal.
“As we look ahead, it’s clear that the recovery will continue to be choppy,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said on the company’s recent earnings call, reports CNN Business.
Bastian has also warned that lifting restrictions will likely lead to congestion, which both travelers and airlines will have to deal with.
“It’s going to be a bit sloppy at first, I can assure you,” Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said at a late October travel industry conference, reports CNN Travel. “There will be lines, unfortunately.”
What could end up derailing plans are growing types of COVID-19, such as new Delta variants, or if infections begin to peak to the point where restrictions need to be re-implemented.
Airlines are also having to deal with rising fuel costs, which could force them to raise ticket prices, risking alienating or losing customers.