Three of Australia’s big-name ASX travel shares are in the red today after the New South Wales Government announced the Sydney lockdown would be extended for another 7 days.
At the time of writing, shares in Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN), Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) and Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB) are trading between 1.02% and 0.38% lower. The slide comes against the backdrop of a rising market, with the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) currently 0.64% higher.
Media outlets including the ABC reported late last night that the government would extend the current, city-wide stay-at-home orders until 6pm on Friday, 16 July. This was confirmed by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in a press conference this morning.
The continuing restrictions come after NSW recorded 27 COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours up to 8pm last night. It’s the 15th consecutive day of double-digit case numbers in the state.
Lockdown impacts on the travel industry
The 3 ASX travel shares also tumbled after the harbour city’s stay-at-home was first ordered almost two weeks ago and restrictions across the country widened. Qantas and Webjet fell more than 4% after the lockdown news, with Flight Centre sliding more than 3%.
Currently, every state and territory in Australia, as well as New Zealand, has some form of restriction on travellers from Sydney entering their jurisdictions.
It’s worth noting that the initial lockdown came at the beginning of school holidays in NSW – a time that usually sees a surge in travel demand as families look to escape the winter cold or embrace it with trips to the snow. The forthcoming extended restrictions will coincide with the first week of school, possibly resulting in a less severe impact on travel companies.
With the latest rise in COVID cases – together with Australia’s sluggish vaccine rollout – it appears ASX travel shares investors will continue to have to deal with unpredictable times.
ASX travel shares snapshot
In March 2020, when the initial stages of the pandemic sent the ASX market head into freefall, the travel sector was hit especially hard. Many shares, including Qantas and Flight Centre, still have not returned to their pre-coronavirus levels.
However, over the past 12 months, all 3 ASX travel shares have regained ground – ranging from a 33% upswing for Qantas to a 56% improvement for Webjet. Flight Centre shares are up 43% over the last 52 weeks.