The Civil Aviation Authority has published a summary of its annual UK Aviation Consumer Survey, conducted in October 2022. It is clear that consumers are still concerned about COVID-19 - 32% of those who hadn’t flown in at least the last 12 months cited this as a reason. Budget constraints and the impact of the rising cost of living, together with concerns about flight disruption (e.g. crowding and delays) and cancellations are also causing concern and a change in spending behaviour.
Booking flights (whether for business in circumstances where a virtual meeting would suffice or for leisure) falls squarely in the discretionary spending category and if bookings are made then consumers want value for money and a satisfactory experience. Paul Smith, Consumer Director at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said "it is particularly important the industry focuses on providing a better experience for consumers this year, and as the sector continues to recover in 2023, we would like to see satisfaction levels improve".
Given the discretionary spend element that is prevalent in the travel sector, it remains in the spotlight for restructuring and turnaround specialists. It will be interesting to see which businesses can transform, restructure and/or consolidate in 2023.
“As we move away from pandemic-related restrictions, the rising cost of living has the potential to have a major effect on the flying behaviour of consumers, with many looking to take measures to save money on their trip."