July 27, 2020 / 7:53 AM / 8 days ago

UK travel stocks plunge on pandemic blues after quarantine move on Spain

(Reuters) - London-listed airlines and tour stocks fell sharply on Monday as Britain imposed a two-week coronavirus quarantine on travellers returning from Spain and said it was watching cases in Germany and France closely, dealing a blow to an industry already reeling from a downturn.

A man carries a luggage as reporters wearing face masks speak to travellers arriving from Madrid at the Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport, as the spread of the?coronavirus?disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, July 26, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Britain said late on Saturday it was taking Spain, where Britons made up over a fifth of foreign visitors last year, off a safe-travel list.

The government is also watching coronavirus cases in Germany and France closely and continuously reviewing the situation in popular holiday destinations.

Shares of tour operator TUI (TUIGn.DE) (TUIT.L), British Airways-owner IAG (ICAG.L), airlines Easyjet (EZJ.L), Wizz Air (WIZZ.L) and Ryanair (RYA.L), and holiday package provider On The Beach (OTB.L) were down between 4% and 13%.

The quarantine measure upset the plans of many people either on holiday or planning to take one and caused more disruption for airlines and tour companies.

The FTSE 350 travel and leisure index, which was tracking its worst year in a decade with a 40% fall, was down 2.3% to its lowest in nearly a month.

IAG fell to the bottom of London’s bluechip index, while TUI was the worst performer on the mid-caps and On The Beach underperformed the small caps.

The Spanish government will focus its efforts on trying to persuade Britain to exclude popular travel destinations Balearic and Canary islands from the quarantine measure, the foreign ministry had said.

TUI, Europe’s biggest holiday company, said on Sunday it had decided to cancel all holidays to mainland Spain up to and including Sunday Aug. 9, while Ryanair said it had no plans to cut UK-Spain capacity.

Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost airline, also reported results on Monday and cut its annual passenger target by a quarter.

(Graphic: Travel and leisure stocks - here)

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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