Slow vaccine rollout to hit low-cost airlines recovery, says JP Morgan

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easyJet PLC (LON:EZJ), Ryanair Holdings PLC (LON:RYA) and Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON:WIZZ) are expected to see a slower recovery than expected, according to JP Morgan.

Analysts believe that the ramp up in intra-European air travel will take longer because of the slow rollout of vaccinations across the continent and the cautious commentary of the low-cost carriers in their recent quarterly results.

READ: Ryanair ordered to remove ‘offensive’ Jab & Go ad by UK watchdog

However, the bank said many investors “remain sanguine” on the sector given that many European countries could vaccinate around half of their citizens by mid-2021 and there appears to be significant pent-up demand for leisure travel.

Nonetheless, another two quarters of cash burn is not helpful for balance sheets and equity valuations.

In fact, analysts cut the target prices by 14% to 710p for easyJet, by 7% to €16.25 for Ryanair and by 2% to 5,600p for Wizz Air.

Wizz Air remains the top pick in the sector as JP Morgan still expects a 21% potential return, while Ryanair is facing a challenging six months after full-year passenger numbers are expected to come in at the bottom of the 80-120mln forecast.

While both of these have a healthy liquidity position, easyJet’s is “ok”, the analysts said, and only as long as European leisure travel meaningfully picks up in the quarter to September 2021.

Shares in easyJet rose 2% to 790p, Ryanair advanced 3% to €15.60 and Wizz Air added 4% to 4,812p on Wednesday at noon.

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