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Are ASX Travel Stocks Off The Pandemic Hook?

May 5, 2021 Business News, Headline News No Comments

Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) reported an uptick of 88% in domestic passenger traffic in March 2021 over February 2021. Virgin Australia plans to go on a hiring blitz as the domestic segment emerges from the COVID-19 blues.

Apart from the Government’s direct aid to the tourism sector, the stimulus measures and record low-interest rate have favoured an increase in travel footprints as people’s financial capacity marked a significant uptick in the past couple of months. At the same time, corporate travel in the country saw a dramatic increase amidst a buoyant economic setting.

However, the international travel landscape is far from the perfect picture as the cataclysm continues to ravage many parts of the world like India and Brazil. The experts are predicting that it might take months before en-masse travel can resume.

On the positive side, European Union is gearing up to welcome vaccinated travellers, having proof of vaccination. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already indicated that Australia is in “no hurry” to reopen its international border, which could compromise its success against the pandemic.

The scenario seems bittersweet as far as international travel is concerned, and the travel providers are pushing the envelope in a quest for alternative solutions.

Let us look at what the latest updates say about the recovery of these ASX-listed travel companies

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN)

Qantas Airways is enjoying robust leisure demand, thanks to the half-priced fare offer by the Federal, while the majority of corporate and small to medium business travel is gaining momentum. As a result of the current optimistic setting, the Group has raised its estimate from 80%, betting 90% of its pre-COVID domestic capacity for Q4 FY2, given there are no significant border closures.

For the time being, the Group is focused on generating positive cash flow rather than returning to pre-COVID profit margins, and thus low fares can be expected in the short term to stimulate demand.

The Group’s projects domestic capacity growth is expected to continue into FY22, with Qantas reaching 107% of the pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, Jetstar is projected to get 120% of its domestic travellers. The air travel player is gearing for resumption of international flights in late October 2021 by reactivating aircraft and training employees.

Source: Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media Pty Ltd.

QAN quoted A$4.9 on the ASX on 4 May 2021.

Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (ASX:FLT)

The Flight Centre Travel Group has achieved higher sales revenue ever since the COVID-19 restrictions were introduced. It was driven by significant global uplift from the third quarter end of FY21. March 2021 turnover was up 32.7% or A$100 million compared to February 2021. It is for the first time amidst COVID-19 that the gross quarterly TTV recorded rose above A$1 billion.

The Company reported the monthly loss of A$5 million to A$7 million JobKeeper subsidy following the Federal Government’s wrapped up the program at the end of March. Nevertheless, the Group expects to recoup the losses through domestic travel if state governments keep borders open. Flight Centre is expecting further growth in April 2021.

FLT quoted A$16.3 on the ASX on 4 May 2021.

Corporate Travel Management Limited (ASX:CTD)

While there was no-profit no-loss for CTD in March, it anticipates underlying EBITDA in 4QFY21. The ANZ region is going through solid domestic demand, and the company indicated that the client activity reached 85% of FY19 booking levels during the week ending 17 March. Meanwhile, New Zealand was trading at an impressive 160% of FY19 booking levels.

Source: Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media Pty Ltd.

The international travel scenario is improving for CTD as the US experiences positive signs of activity recovery. The Company achieved significant essential travel client wins in the UK and Europe despite lockdowns, which continue to contribute profitability to the Group. Meanwhile, economic momentum in Australia and New Zealand is expected to be driven by border reopening, vaccination rollouts and the Government’s clear framework of resuming international travel activities.

CTD quoted A$17.6 on the ASX on 4 May 2021.


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