Airlines faced a bumpy start to the week as chaos ripped through the travel industry.
British Airways and easyJet cancelled dozens of flights due to staff shortages – throwing the holiday plans of thousands of families into doubt.
Shares in BA-owner IAG slid early on, but edged up later by 0.4 per cent, or 0.62p, to 141.8p. However, easyJet was down 0.2 per cent, or 1.2p, to 553.8p.
Grounded: British Airways and easyJet cancelled dozens of flights due to staff shortages – throwing the holiday plans of thousands of families into doubt
The chaos marked a nightmare scenario for the travel industry in the run-up to Easter.
Wizz Air also felt the pinch as its shares dropped by 0.1 per cent, or 3p, to 2860p despite figures showing it carried 2.5million passengers last month – more than five times higher than in March last year.
Meanwhile, Dublin-based Ryanair warned it made losses of between £294million and £336million in the 12 months to the end of March.
Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter said that easyJet’s cancellations were a ‘blow for the airline, given it’s been counting on an upswing in spring and summer bookings to give it a major tailwind in its recovery, particularly as it comes just as the big Easter holiday get away begins’.
On British Airways, she added: ‘Covid absences will just compound the operational pain of the IT failures which won’t go away, and which have led to days of chaos at Heathrow and knock-on effects at other airports.
‘Seeing luggage abandoned on carousels and the tales of travellers waiting for hours in queues, does little to restore confidence in the travelling public, with a fresh headache of delays just as hopes had risen that the drop in testing requirements would make journeys a lot easier.’
The FTSE 100 was up 0.3 per cent, or 21.02 points to 7558.92 while the FTSE 250 was up 0.5 per cent, or 111.88 points, to 21329.89.
Stock Watch – Saietta
International electric drivetrain company Saietta surged after announcing it would establish a pilot production facility in Sunderland.
The company plans to use the site to manufacture its heavy commercial vehicle drivetrains – components that deliver power to the drive wheels – that were previously built in China.
Saietta also bought four motor production lines and an electronic circuit board production line.
Shares climbed 18.75 per cent, or 30p, to 190p.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Twitter shares jumped 25 per cent higher after Tesla boss Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, bought a 9.2 per cent stake. Tesla shares jumped more than 4 per cent.
Housebuilders were on the march. Persimmon, one of the blue-chip index’s biggest risers, saw its shares rise 2.9 per cent, or 62p, to 2210p. Barratt Development was up 3 per cent, or 15.4p, to 533.6p, Taylor Wimpey rose 2.7 per cent, or 3.55p, to 134.8p and Berkeley Group rose 3.2 per cent, or 20p, to 3848p.
It was fuelled by speculation ministers may water down demands for housebuilders to pay into a £4billion cladding remediation fund.
A spokesman for the Home Builders Federation said: ‘We continue to engage constructively with Government alongside our members to advance discussions and find a proportionate, industry-wide solution.’
Peel Hunt analyst Clyde Lewis told the Mail the housebuilding sector has been hit pretty hard to date.
He said: ‘Too many people in the UK unfortunately don’t want houses being built where they live. If you do own one, you are on the ladder and in the game.
‘If you don’t own one then it’s difficult because there’s not enough choices and it’s pushed up house prices faster than they should have done.
This is the shortage that’s been coming for 25 to 30 years and the Government is slowly waking up to it.’
Figures last week showed house prices rising at the fastest rate for 18 years. Lewis said you ‘can’t put the genie back in the bottle in terms of making house prices cheaper’.
Property-listing group Rightmove also saw its shares up 3.5 per cent, or 22p, to 657p. Victorian Plumbing soared 12.8 per cent, or 6.3p, to 55.7p while Boohoo was up 7.7 per cent, or 7.02p, to 98.82p.
Oil prices rose more than 3.5 per cent with Brent crude hitting $108 a barrel as more countries turned towards their reserves. BP fell 0.4 per cent, or 1.35p, to 377.6p, and Shell edged down 0.2 per cent, or 3.5p, to 2116p.
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