S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) travel shares are lifting to the skies today.
The Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB) share price is up 2.56% while the Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) share price is 2.26% higher. Meanwhile, Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) shares are trading up 2.89% at the time of writing.
For perspective, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is 1.44% going into the final hour of trading this afternoon.
So why are ASX200 travel shares rising?
Return to profit could be on the cards
New insight from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicates a return to profit could be on the cards for the airline industry.
The IATA predicts industry-wide profit in 2023 “appears within reach”. The association highlighted North America will deliver $8.8 billion profit in 2022.
Global industry loss forecasts have also been cut from $11.6 billion to $9.7 billion for 2022. This compares to $137.7 billion in losses in 2020 and $42.1 billion in 2021.
Commenting on the outlook, IATA director general Willie Walsh said:
Airlines are resilient. People are flying in ever greater numbers. And cargo is performing well against a backdrop of growing economic uncertainty.
Losses will be cut to $9.7 billion this year and profitability is on the horizon for 2023.
Closer to home, Qantas has scrapped the requirement to wear masks on outbound flights to the USA, United Kingdom, and Europe from NSW, Queensland, and WA, Sky News reported.
A Qantas internal memo to staff stated “the change to inflight mask requirements on some international flights is an important step in our transition to living with COVID“.
Meanwhile, popular tourist destination Thailand will relax travel restrictions from 1 July, Crisis 24 reported.
Foreign arrivals will no longer be required to show insurance coverage for COVID-19 or apply for the Thailand Pass. Travellers will, however, need to show a COVID-19 vaccination certificate, or a negative COVID-19 test.
ASX 200 travel share price recap
Qantas shares have dropped more than 2% in the last year while the Webjet share price has climbed more than 5%. In contrast, Flight Centre shares have surged nearly 16%.
For perspective, the benchmark ASX index has lost nearly 10% in the past year.