Airline and travel company shares tumble

Turmoil in Egypt hits Lufthansa, Air France, TUI, Thomas Cook and others

Among the biggest casualties on European stockmarkets as a result of the mass political demonstrations in Egypt and the Middle East have been shares in airlines and tour operators. Taking the biggest hits in recent days have been airlines with strong scheduled links to Egypt such as Air France and Lufthansa as well as tour operators like TUI and Thomas Cook that fly tens of thousands of tourists to Egyptian resorts each year.

Shares in International Consolidated Airlines Group, the Anglo-Spanish holding company recently formed with the merger of British Airways and Iberia, also tumbled. “Egypt has been a successful destination for tourists and though Egypt and Tunisia combined would account for only 10 percent of travel operators’ earnings, they are being bit by risk aversion,” Matthias Desmarais, head of leisure and services at Exane BNP Paribas in Paris, explained.

European airlines have cancelled some of their services for flights to and from Egypt and altered schedules according to the hours of the curfew in Cairo. Delta Air Lines has suspended its flights to Cairo, while British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa have been forced to adjust their schedules so that flights arrive and depart from the city in daylight. BA’s flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh continue as normal.