Travel stocks down after Spain confirms first case of Ebola infection outside West Africa

IAG, Lufthansa, easyJet, TUI Travel and Thomas Cook extended losses

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The Independent Online

Shares in major European airlines fell after Spain confirmed a nurse tested positive for Ebola in what is believed the first person to have contracted the virus outside of West Africa.

International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways as well as Spain's Iberia and budget airline Vueling, fell as much as 7 per cent in London trading, wiping £500 million off its market value.

Low-cost rival easyJet slumped 4 per cent while cruise ship operator Carnival fell 5 per cent. Travel agent TUI Travel down 3 per cent and Thomas Cook falling 5 per cent. In Germany,  Lufthansa  shares were down 4 per cent.

Today's session is likely to have been promoted by fears that the potential spread of Ebola could lead to travel disruptions and cancellations for flight operations in Europe.

 

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Robin Byde said the "volatile" air stocks were always the first to be hit by this type of scare though there was no certainty of the outcome.

He added: "You could be looking at worst case scenario major travel disruption, long haul and short haul. My view is that that looks unlikely but there is obviously concern in the market today."

Traders may also have been looking for a trigger to take profits after airline shares were boosted in recent days following a profit expectation upgrade from easyJet and falling oil prices.

Additional reporting PA

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