Airline shares tumble as New York imposes quarantine, Florida cases spike

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An American Airlines Group Inc. plane prepares for landing at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

Timothy Fadek | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. airline shares fell sharply Wednesday after state officials in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut said they were imposing a two-week quarantine on travelers arriving from certain states with high coronavirus infection rates.

The orders, as of Wednesday, apply to travelers coming from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas, based on infection rates in those states, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

United, which has a hub at Newark and another large operation in Houston, and Delta, which is also a major carrier in New York’s airports, were each down more than 7% in early-afternoon trading. Fort Worth, Texas-based American was down 6%. New York-based JetBlue, which has a large operation in Florida, was down 8%. Low-cost Spirit, based in the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. area, was trading 9% lower.

Airlines have drastically reduced service, particularly in the New York City area, because of the pandemic but have been adding flights this summer to cater to demand that has risen from more than five-decade lows hit in April.

Despite the recent uptick in travelers returning to the skies, the number of people passing through U.S. airports has been around 80% lower than the same point last year.

The carriers didn’t immediately comment but have been waiving change fees for customers who want to postpone their trips.

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