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Is the return of air travel on the horizon?

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Tonicha Pinnock Senior Executive 15 June 2021

In November 2020, Savanta ComRes partnered with the Civil Aviation Authority to conduct their ninth wave of consumer research tracking, exploring UK consumers' attitudes towards flying and the aviation industry more broadly.

Just one in ten consumers (9%) have flown since the pandemic...

With the introduction of international border restrictions, the COVID-19 pandemic has unsurprisingly had a dramatic impact on flight numbers, with just one in ten consumers (9%) having flown since the pandemic, three times less than those who had flown in the last 12 months, but before the pandemic started (30%).

Those who have flown since the pandemic are dominated by a small number of frequent flyers and furthermore, three quarters (77%) of passengers remain satisfied with their overall travel experience.

Looking ahead to a post-pandemic future, our research provides insight into potential future flying trends. It indicates an appetite amongst consumers to return to flying once COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift, with half (49%) saying they expect to travel by air in the next 12 months.

The majority of consumers (67%) say they will probably wait until the pandemic has ended before they will resume flying. However, once restrictions are lifted, assurance of COVID-19 safety checks will be fundamental in restoring consumer confidence, with six in ten (62%) saying COVID-19 testing for all passengers prior to departure would make them more confident to fly. However, safety measures may need to be extended beyond the airport, with nearly half of consumers (45%) disagreeing that they feel safe from COVID-19 when using public transport to get to the airport.

Savanta ComRes interviewed 3,504 people between 13th November and 8th December 2020. This research was conducted via telephone and online survey. If you are interested in finding more about the research the report can be found HERE, our infographic HERE and the data tables can be found HERE.

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