Shares of Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. jumped nearly 30% on Tuesday, their most in eight months, after the space-tourism company said it would start ticket sales for its space flights to the general public on Wednesday.
stock rose the most since June 25, when it jumped 39%, and was on track for its highest close since Jan. 12. Tuesday’s gains also snap a three-day losing streak for the shares.
Virgin said it plans to have its first 1,000 customers on board at the start of commercial service later this year, “providing an incredibly strong foundation as we begin regular operations and scale our fleet.”
Flights reservations cost $450,000, with an initial deposit of $150,000 and a final payment before the ﬂight. Virgin landed on that price in August, and ticket reservations were limited to what the company called “a significant list of early hand-raisers.”
Wall Street has been split about near-term prospects for the space-tourism company. Of the 12 analysts polled by FactSet, four have a buy rating on the stock and five have the equivalent of a hold, with the remaining three with a sell rating.
Those optimistic have cited a “promising” addressable market of at least 1.3 million billionaires in the world and Virgin’s demonstrated ability to transport humans into space.
The stock has skidded, however, following FAA concerns about its flights and plans to raise debt. Shares have lost nearly 81% in the past 12 months, contrasting with gains of about 14% for the S&P 500 index
in the same period.