With restrictions set to ease and pent-up demand continuing to rise, UK airlines could be set for a scorching summer across their domestic routes. The demise of Flybe in 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic has left plenty of options for domestic route expansion and these routes could bear fruit for airlines this summer.

Airlines have been left fighting for survival due to the detrimental impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had. However, there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel as carriers turn to domestic connectivity to capture the increased demand for staycations in the UK this summer.

Domestic demand is high

A GlobalData poll revealed that 43%* of global respondents expect to take a domestic trip within the next 12 months. Given the continued success of the UK vaccine rollout and dwindling case rates, the UK is set for an upward trend in domestic travel. Airlines are preparing themselves to capitalize on this trend.

easyJet, and Loganair have been adding domestic capacity for the UK market, with new routes set to launch in anticipation of travelers seeking holidays closer to home this summer. With European travel still looking uncertain, domestic aviation is a safer bet for carriers and passengers. Demand will be high as would-be travelers will be looking for a much-needed change of scenery along with a decreased risk of cancellation, which is what domestic travel can offer more convincingly in the current climate.

Convenience will bode well with passengers

GlobalData’s consumer survey has shown that 44%** of UK respondents rank accessibility as one of the top deciding factors when choosing a holiday. With an increase in domestic routes, consumers will be more than willing to travel as they seek the easiest travel option available. With shorter journey times than both road and rail, passengers will be looking towards air travel. The UK has a strong tourism product and will be an attractive option for many travelers this summer looking to get away in a country in which they feel safe and secure.

Flybe left a massive gap in the UK domestic market and consumers will be receptive to any new routes as a result. With summer 2021 shaping up to have an even higher level of demand in the domestic market than 2020, airlines will be looking for the easiest ways to deploy capacity. The domestic market makes sense in the short-term to satisfy the increased propensity to fly domestically and will hopefully be less impacted by any changes to travel restrictions.

As UK domestic tourism looks set for another bumper summer, airlines establishing regional connectivity will be in a strong position to strengthen their recovery from the pandemic. Although some European travel is likely to recommence this summer, domestic holidays will still remain the favorite amongst UK travelers, much to the benefit of UK airlines’ domestic expansion.

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