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Boeing, airline stocks tumble as new Covid variant spurs travel curbs

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Passengers, wearing protective face masks, walk through the international arrivals hall after arriving at Terminal 2 at London Heathrow Airport.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Boeing and other travel stocks slid in premarket trading Friday after several European and Asian countries announced new travel restrictions from southern Africa because of a new Covid variant.

The U.K. on Thursday said it would temporarily suspend flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The European Commission recommended a pause on travel between the EU and southern Africa.

The new restrictions highlight how new variants of Covid-19 can quickly disrupt travel, just as many airlines and aircraft manufacturers like Boeing were upbeat about a rebound in demand.

Boeing shares were down more than 6% in premarket trading, while Delta Air Lines was down 7% and United Airlines fell 8%. Hotel giant Hilton was down nearly 5% ahead of the market open.

The State Department and White House didn’t immediately comment on potential travel restrictions to the U.S.

On Nov. 8, the Biden administration lifted a broad pandemic travel ban on most non-citizens visiting from more than 30 countries, including the U.K., the EU, South Africa and Brazil.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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