Dark days for airline shares - Thai Airways and Qantas plunge over 7%

Thai Airways and Qantas were hit hard in waves of selling across Asian stock markets yesterday, falling 8.5% and 7.4%, respectively.

Qantas shares fell sharply as the stock went ex-dividend and amid broader market weakness. The carrier also cut its fuel surcharges by 35-45%. Thai Airways has been trading near 16-year lows established in mid-Jan-09 after a horror fourth quarter result.

Thai Airways share price: 01-Sep-08 to 02-Mar-09

Equities investors are jamming the exits around the world. Air China's shares slid 6.2% as Chairman, Kong Dong, stated it was uncertain whether the country's flag carrier could turn a profit in 2009 and indicated that the time was "not right" for further acquisitions in China. Shares in China Eastern - a former takeover target of Air China - slumped 6.7%.

AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines fell 2.6% and 2.2%, respectively, as investors digest their fourth quarter results.

Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 02-Mar-09