Despite uncertainty on travel restrictions, during the summer the British airline industry registered a 25 per cent jump in shorter-term international bookings compared with pre-pandemic levels.
Data from the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) showed that this year 52 per cent of international flight bookings from the UK were made over a four-week window, compared to 40 per cent registered in 2018-2019.
Compared to 2020, flights booked within a two-week window registered the highest growth, increasing by 70 per cent.
“The past 18 months have been very uncertain for airlines, with all the usual trend data providing very little insight for planning,” said Julie Kyse, Expedia’s vice president of global air partnerships.
“Just this year we have seen surges in long-term bookings early in the year quickly followed by a rush of last-minute bookings.”
In March, 71 per cent of flights were booked three months in advance, compared to 40 per cent registered for the same period in 2019.
Airlines need to be quick on their feet if they want to better capitalise on booking fluctuations, suggested Kyse.
“Airlines who succeed will be the ones who use data smartly to capture the expected surge in travellers looking for last minute getaways,” she said.
The news comes on the same day Easyjet’s chief executive Johan Lundgren said that “recovery is on the way”, after the carrier registered a recent surge in bookings to touristy destinations.
“We have seen city breaks beginning to return alongside a growing demand for leisure travel from customers looking for holidays in popular major destinations,” said the chief executive.