Travel sector fearful amid new of Omicron variant

Having pushed so hard to reopen flight paths and airports, airlines are doing their best to minimise the impact of the most recent variant of coronavirus.

Airline shares did rise on Monday following a sharp sell-off at the end of last week, as the Omicron mutation took a heavy toll on share prices.

The industry, which has felt the pain as much as any other during the pandemic, is biting its nails as it awaits updates on the significance of the new variant following a weekend of border closures and route restrictions.

"The hope for U.S. and European carriers had been that opening the Atlantic would allow them to operate long-haul routes on a cash-positive basis but border restrictions make it even harder to get the demand in," James Halstead, managing partner at consultancy Aviation Strategy todl Reuters.

First reported in southern Africa, the most recent outbreak came as the airline industry was getting closer to a full recovery.

However, with US-bound flights being reduced, the prospect of this happening is back up in the air.

There are grave fears that if the virus spreads beyond the immediately affected regions, the whole flight network could be at risk.

The news has caused a delay in bookings, as people are now biding their time to see how things unfold.

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