‘Freedom Day’ beckons as ASX travel stocks lift, Qantas touches 12-month high
An announcement by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian earlier today lifted ASX travel stocks, with Qantas (ASX:QAN) touching its 52-week high of $5.88 at one point.
The Premier detailed a three-step pathway towards the State’s ‘Freedom Day’, essentially the day when 90% of the NSW population is fully vaccinated.
The first two stages are expected to be achieved in October – first on October 11th when 70% are inoculated, and the second stage two weeks later, when 80% will have been vaccinated.
That would lead to the third stage of December 1st, or what’s been referred to as Freedom Day, when restrictions could be significantly lifted across the State.
“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,” says Berejiklian.
Her comments led to positive sentiment in travel stocks, with national carrier Qantas jumping by 3.5% to $5.84. The stock momentarily touched its 52-week high of $5.88.
The rise in QAN share price came despite announcing that it would ground its non-stop Perth-London flights until next April.
That flight will instead take off from Darwin, Qantas says, after WA Premier Mark McGowan shut down borders and flights until 80% of WA population is vaccinated.
“Somewhere above 80 per cent, we’ll try and set the date. I don’t know whether it’ll be February, March or April, I suspect it will be one of those months,” McGowan said.
Meanwhile, Victoria wants to reopen interstate and international borders by Christmas.
“I think there is an acknowledgment among COVID-zero state leaders and territory leaders that this thing is so wildly infectious and the perennial suppression, the endless suppression and delivery of zero cases, that cannot go on forever,” said Victorian Primer, Dan Andrews.
Most ASX travel stocks reacted positively to the news.
Webject (ASX:WEB) rose by by 5%.
The company announced earlier that it will be cash flow positive in the first half of FY22, on the back of its WebBeds B2B business.
The WebBeds business was profitable in July and August, and is well on track to be profitable in September.
WebBeds is a B2B travel intermediary or “bedbank”, providing accommodation and ground services to the travel industry.
Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) rose by 7.5%.
The stock has been rising 33% this year, despite reporting a $507m underlying full-year loss before tax.
FLT acknowledged that the travel industry will become more complex post-COVID.
Pipelines for FY22 look solid however, as it prepares to enter the key Japanese corporate travel market in January 2022.
Helloworld Travel (ASX:HLO) rose by 3.3% today.
The company’s stock price rose by 36% in the past year, despite it reporting a full-year EBITDA loss of $14.1m.
The travel agency is bullish about FY22, saying that pent-up demand and the easing of border restrictions will see a rapid return of travellers, especially when we’ve reached 80% vaccination.
Helloworld however did not provide guidance for FY22.
SYD stock price was unchanged, while CTD lost 1% today.