Flight and travel stocks on the ASX took off higher this morning, with most rising by more than 3% at the time of writing.

Although there was no specific news, the bullish sentiment seems to have been carried over from the US overnight, where the government gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

That development has given hope that normal travel might resume sooner than expected.

US flight stocks like Delta and American Airlines were higher by around 3%. Cruise ships stocks also rose on the approval news, with Carnival and Norwegian Cruise share prices rising by 4%.

Back home in Australia, the mood has also turned optimistic even as lockdowns continue around the country.

New data from the Doherty Institute has confirmed that reopening the country despite high numbers of new infections will be safe when Australia reaches its vaccine target of 70 to 80 per cent.

ASX travel stocks climb higher this morning

Travel stocks that have moved higher this morning include:

Code Company Price Today's move
WEB Webjet $5.23 5.90%
SLK Sealink Travel $10.15 3.80%
HLO Helloworld Travel $1.66 7.10%
CTM Corporate Travel Management $0.94 2.70%
AIZ Air New Zealand $1.40 1.45%
QAN Qantas $4.56 4.10%
FLT Flight Centre $15.00 5.10%
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Although things have been improving since the vaccine roll-out, the industry still faces a long uphill battle after share prices plummeted to the lowest levels not seen in half a decade.

A key metric that investors might be interested in is passenger numbers.

In its latest half yearly report, Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) reported a 34% decrease in its total passenger numbers from a year ago to 6 million – confirming that the sector’s misery is far from over.

Domestic travel however has largely been the saving grace for the aviation industry, with the latest figures showing 2.63 million passengers were carried on Australian domestic commercial aviation compared to just 0.63 million in June 2020.

But with the New Zealand travel bubble now being closed, new initiatives to get travellers flying again have been discussed, including bringing in a vaccine passport, even on domestic travel.

But there has been some pessimism around the vaccine passport idea.

“The thing about it is even if you’re vaccinated, you can still transmit,” WA’s Premier Mark McGowan told reporters yesterday.

PM Scott Morrison meanwhile, has clearly laid out a national pandemic exit plan, announcing in July that Australians will be able to head overseas again (or vice versa), when 80% of the Australian adult population has been fully vaccinated.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce has also said the airline will lay out its own plans on how passengers could travel safely with Qantas in its upcoming yearly report.

All eyes will be on the Qantas earnings results to be released this Thursday.