UK flights during festive period remain 14 per cent below pre-Covid levels
UK flights during the festive period have remained significantly below pre-pandemic levels, according to research.
Data published today by aviation analytics firm Cirium showed that 30,979 departures have been scheduled from UK airports between 21 December and 4 January.
This is 14 per cent below the 36,138 reported in 2019.
UK flights are nevertheless 33 per cent higher than last year – a sign that the industry has progressed with its post-Covid recovery.
According to figures, Easyjet is the largest airline operating during the holiday period, with 5,928 expected departures, followed by British Airways (BA), Ryanair and Loganair.
Whereas Heathrow will see the largest number of departing flights – 8,172 – followed by Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester airports.
Travel expert Rob Staines told City A.M. the figures reflect the “many uncertainties” surrounding travel at the moment.
“Rail strikes mean it’s a struggle for many to even get to an airport and with the looming border force walkouts and various airlines halting sales many will defer travel plans,” he said.
Passengers could nevertheless face disruption when coming back as around 1,000 Border Force workers are set to walk out from 23 to 26 as well as between 28 and 31 December.
Members of the union PCS will walk at several UK airports – including Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester – leading to over two hours of queue at passport controls during the peak period, City A.M. reported.
Passengers might also be forced to wait aboard planes to avoid overcrowding, according to multiple reports.