The increased rate of coronavirus vaccinations in continental Europe as well as possible plans for vaccinated Americans to be allowed to visit the European Union this summer form part of “three-near term catalysts” that will make British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (LON:IAG) an “attractive long-term investment”, according to analysts at JP Morgan.

In a note on Tuesday upgrading the FTSE 100 group to ‘overweight’ from ‘neutral, the investment bank said while 2021 will “remain very challenging”, prospects for the carrier conglomerate from 2022 onwards looked “promising as global airt ravel start to normalise”.

READ: Airlines and tour operators given EU travel boost

“We anticipate turbulence on this journey but consider IAG an attractive long-term investment”, the bank said.

Meanwhile, in the near term analysts highlighted the increased vaccination rates in Europe and the possibility of travel ban relaxations between the US, the UK and Europe as key positives for IAG, noting that in 2019 the company operated 29% of its flights to and from North America, which they considered IAG’s “most profitable market given the amount of premium traffic”.

For the long-term, JP Morgan said the company’s acquisition of Air Europa, if approved by EU regulators, could be completed later this year giving it more share of the European market, adding that the company could return to its pre-COVID performance and goals “by 2023-24”.

“Our analysis suggests that IAG’s long-term [earnings] potential has not been impaired by the COVID crisis”, the bank concluded.

Shares in IAG ascended 2.9% to 208.7p in lunchtime deals.

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