Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement today that international travel may resume before the end of the year, subject to Prime Minister Scott Morrison giving it the green light, has given travel stocks a shot in the arm this morning.
Shares in Qantas (ASX: QAN), Flight Centre (ASX: FLT), Webjet (ASX: WEB) and Camplify (ASX: CHL) are all trading at record highs for 2021 at the time of writing, flying high on the promise of greater freedoms come 1 December for New South Wales.
Of particular note is caravan-sharing platform Camplify, founded by two-time winner of the Australian Young Entrepreneur Award in the Hospitality and Tourism category Justin Hales, which at a current share price of $3.20 means investors who bought in on the company’s debut in June have more than doubled their money.
As of 11.45am, shares in Qantas are up 3.90 per cent, Flight Centre is up 8.08, Webjet up by 5.21 per cent, and Camplify by 8.78 per cent.
Today’s ASX movements reflect renewed confidence in US travel stocks too - last week the Dow Jones U.S. Travel & Tourism Stock Market Index (DWCTTR) rose by 11.5 per cent in just five days.
While Australian travel stocks still have a while to go until they return to pre-pandemic levels, for Qantas the rejuvenation is a far cry from its April 2020 bottom of around $3 per share.
The airline today announced changes to its flying schedule in response to the reopening plans, bringing forward the reopening date between Victoria and NSW from 1 December to 5 November, increasing regional flying within NSW from 25 October to around 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels, and delaying the restart of domestic flying between Western Australia and Victoria/NSW by two months to 1 February.
Qantas will continue to operate five return flights a week between Perth and both Sydney and Melbourne to maintain minimum connections for those with permits to travel.
Internationally, flights are still on track to gradually restart from 18 December 2021 onwards when Australia is expected to have reached National Cabinet’s ‘Phase C’ vaccination threshold of 80 per cent.
"It’s great to see plans firming up for some domestic borders opening given the success of the national vaccine rollout," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
“We’re now planning to ramp up flying between Melbourne and Sydney, which is usually the second busiest air route in the world, almost a month earlier than expected. There are also a lot of regional destinations that will open up for the first time since June, which is great news for tourism as well as family and friends who can’t wait to see each other again.
“Get ready to see some emotional reunions at airports from late-October onwards."
Shareholders have every right to be excited today after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced residents may be able to consider travelling overseas as soon as the 80 per cent fully vaccinated target is hit - which could come as early as the end of October.
"We believe by 1 December we will be at that COVID normal state where, hopefully, we will be booking our international travel once the PM gives that green light, we will be able to go overseas as well,” Berejiklian said.
Updated at 12.22pm AEST on 27 September 2021.
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