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IAG shares just took off on reports the US is set to ease restrictions on UK and EU travellers.

Double-vaccinated passengers will be able to fly to the US, ending a total ban that has been in place since the pandemic, according to a report from the FT.

BA-owner IAG is a clear winner from this as its transatlantic business has been all but mothballed since the grounding of its jets due to the US policy.

IAG rallied over 10% on the announcement before paring some gains to trade +9.5% as of send time, whilst Air France KLM and Lufthansa added to earlier gains to trade around +6% higher.

Big read across for associated stocks – SSP rallied from negative territory for the day to trade up 4.5%, whilst WH Smith, which had also been trading lower, is now up 2%. And it’s more good news for Rolls-Royce, whilst TUI and Wizz Air are also having a good day.

EasyJet – though no transatlantic player – also up sharply as it indicates I think a direction of travel for the airlines that is way more positive than we have seen since really the peak of the vaccine optimism late last year and early 2021.

Whether or not the US makes the green list or not come October is another matter. I would assume the loosening of the rules – a win for the EU and UK – is based on the quid pro quo that they will make it easy for their citizens to travel to the US. Levels of vaccinations in the US are high enough to outweigh concerns about cases.

IAG: Big pop but only its highest since late August, though the move higher speaks of a more positive outlook. Lots of caveats and reason to be cautious still – getting bums on seats and filling those planes again will take much longer – who’s going to wear a mask for 9 hours? And what vaccines will be acceptable? Will children need to have a vaccine passport, too? A step in the right direction for sure nonetheless.

IAG price chart 20.09.2021

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