Airways’ shares are falling as instances within the UK impose journey restrictions

A United Airlines passenger plane arrives over residential buildings to land at Heathrow Airport in west London, UK on March 13, 2020.

Matthew Childs | Reuters

The airline’s shares fell on Monday as a highly contagious mutation from Covid-19 in the UK and South Africa resulted in travel restrictions from more than two dozen nations.

Countries from Italy to India to El Salvador have banned flights from the UK or travelers who have been in that country after officials in the UK sounded the alarm over saying it was a fast-spreading strain of the virus. Canada said late Sunday it would suspend passenger flights from the UK for 72 hours.

The US has excluded most foreign travelers who have been in the European Union or the UK since March. A White House spokesman declined to comment on whether the US would suspend flights altogether. Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Transportation did not immediately speak out.

The virus and travel restrictions have decimated the demand for air travel, especially international flights. The airlines have drastically reduced their transatlantic service. Delta Air Lines, for example, operated eight non-stop flights a day to London Heathrow last year and now offers two flights a day. American Airlines slashed London service last month, even before concerns about the new strain of the virus surfaced, due to weak demand.

United Airlines announced that passengers booked to and from London on or before January 17th will not be charged any change fees or price differences if they choose to fly on a different day.

Delta and United were both more than 1% lower on Monday afternoon. American stocks fell 2.7% while the S&P 500 fell 0.3%.

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