A survey of 2,100 people across the UK suggests there is a strong desire among UK flyers to return to domestic and international travel as soon as restrictions are eased by the Government – an easing planned for 17 May. The survey, which took place on the weekend following the Prime Minister issuing the Government’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, builds on the spike of new bookings made by the British public since 22nd February, and could indicate a resurgence for the UK travel industry.
2,014 people were surveyed online for the study, by Yonder Data Solutions, on 26-28 February 2021. The survey was weighted to be nationally representative of the UK, according to the company.
The survey results showed a willingness to adapt to the post-Covid landscape, with three quarters of respondents accepting the need to supply a negative Covid test prior to travel, if required. Three quarters of those surveyed also said they would be willing to carry proof that they had been vaccinated if it meant being allowed to travel. Amongst those aged over 65 the number rises to 89%, but for 18-24 year olds it is 67% – which may indicate that overall acceptance will increase once every adult in the UK receives their first vaccination by July.
Commenting on the survey, Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport, said: “After the weakest first quarter that anyone in the industry can remember, the survey results show that the Prime Minister’s roadmap has given British people hope again, and it is very pleasing to see that so many see travel as a priority as restrictions are eased.
“It has also given our airline partners confidence to schedule services throughout the summer and I am delighted that we will be able to connect travellers to so many destinations across the UK and Europe for the most well-deserved summer holiday they will ever have.
“The challenge now for industry and Government is to make sure that May 17th is not another false dawn and to agree travel standards with our key international partners as soon as possible, which will allow everyone to fly safely from early summer. And when this is achieved, I would anticipate another surge in bookings that will not only be a huge shot in the arm for the industry, but demonstrate that we can finally begin our recovery.”
Looking ahead to the summer, the emerging picture from the survey points to a preference for short-haul holidays, with 55% of frequent flyers preferring Europe and the Mediterranean, compared to 22% who aspire to travel long haul.
This potential trend is supported by 71% of those surveyed indicating that travel should be allowed between the UK and countries where Covid-19 is under control, opening up the possibility of travel corridors between the UK and European countries where risk is low.
In preparation for the restart of international travel, the airport’s home-based carrier, British Airways, has announced a route map of 24 destinations. These include a return of core routes such as Edinburgh, Dublin and Glasgow and summer sun destinations such as Malaga, Ibiza, Nice, Florence, Faro, Nice, Mykonos, Santorini and Split. And one year after the route was announced, the only connection between London and San Sebastian will commence, with two rotations per week.
It is hoped that international departures will commence from May 17th and will be scaled up through the summer. In preparation, the airport has set up an airside Covid-19 testing facility provided by Collinson that offers all required arrival and departure testing for UK and global markets.