Boeing and airline stocks plunge as new Covid variant erodes travel restrictions

Passengers in protective masks pass through the international arrivals hall after arriving at Terminal 2 of London Heathrow Airport.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shares of Boeing and other travel companies fell in premarket Friday after several European and Asian countries announced new travel restrictions from southern Africa due to the new Covid variant.

The UK on Thursday said it would temporarily suspend flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The European Commission has recommended a pause in travel between the EU and southern Africa.

The new restrictions highlight how new Covid-19 variants can quickly disrupt travel, just as many airlines and aircraft manufacturers like Boeing have been optimistic about a recovery in demand.

Boeing shares fell more than 6% premarket, while Delta Air Lines fell 7% and United Airlines dropped 8%. Hotel giant Hilton fell nearly 5% ahead of the market opening.

The State Department and the White House did not immediately comment on possible restrictions on travel to the United States.

On November 8, the Biden administration lifted a sweeping pandemic-related travel ban for most non-citizens traveling from more than 30 countries, including the UK, EU, South Africa and Brazil.

This story is evolving. Please stay tuned.

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