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Amid Immigration Ban Turmoil, U.S. Airline, Travel Agency Shares Nosedive

Amid Immigration Ban Turmoil, U.S. Airline, Travel Agency Shares Nosedive
Some executives of the U.S. airline and online booking agency have begun speaking out against the Trump administration's ban on travel from seven majority Muslim nations as the shares of such companies slumped for the second consecutive day on Tuesday.
Since Friday when President Donald Trump issued an order temporarily barring entry to the United States from nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries, the share prices of major U.S. airlines and third-party travel booking sites have plunged. Travel throughout the weekend was disrupted due top confusion over who was affected and protests at some major airports.
There was a drop of 2.1 per cent in the price of shares of American Airlines Group Inc on Tuesday to reach $43.96. There was slippage of 2.89 percent in share prices to reach $69.65 for United Continental Holdings Inc.
The order was called "divisive" and that it had caused "difficult operating conditions" for some employees by American Airlines Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker, in a memo sent to employees on Monday and posted on a company website.
"As a global employer, however, this Executive Order does not affect the values that this company is built upon — those of diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance," Parker said in the memo.
Shares in Delta Air Lines Inc were down about 5 percent since Friday and declined for a second day on Tuesday. Delta has declined to pin blame for weekend travel delays on a computer outage that grounded some Delta flights on Sunday evening and to comment on the travel ban or the president's effort on Monday.
However a statement congratulating Elaine Chao, Trump's nominee to run the Department of Transportation, on her confirmation, was issued by the company.
A drop in the stock prices of online travel agencies Expedia Inc and Priceline Group Inc were also noted in afternoon trading.
The travel order "jeopardizes its corporate mission and could have a detrimental impact on its business and employees, as well as the broader U.S. and global travel and tourism industry”, said online travel booking agency Expedia, in a declaration filed with an official complaint from Washington state's attorney general on Monday.
To quench the outcry, Trump administration officials said on Tuesday that the number of entrants to the United States directly affected by the order is relatively small. Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said at a briefing that since the order, 721 travelers with visas from the seven countries were denied boarding on U.S.-bound flights. Officials said that processing of 1,060 waivers for legal permanent residents, such as green card holders have also been done by the tge department.
"The sense of uncertainty created by (the executive order)… just makes it a difficult time to think about traveling," industry analyst Bob Mann of R.W. Mann and Co said.
Over the weekend, thousands of demonstrators took to airports across the United States to protest the ban, clogging terminals and delaying travelers and some airlines said they had to rework their flight attendant and pilot rosters.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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