While trips abroad are set to increase as COVID restrictions relax, there are questions over whether the pandemic has changed people’s attitudes to flying.
With foreign holidays off the agenda while the government has implemented coronavirus lockdown restrictions, the aviation sector has taken a significant hit over the past year.
However, a new survey has suggested that a majority of adults now intend to fly less once restrictions ease – with COVID and fears for the environment being among the prime concerns.
According to research conducted by the University of Bristol, nearly 58% of the 500 people questioned said they would fly ‘less’ or ‘much less’ in future.
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Nearly 77% said that concerns over COVID might put them off, while 83% said their personal use of air travel contributes to climate change.
Dr Ed Atkins, lecturer in the university's School of Geographical Sciences, who led the study, said: "This survey aims to provide early insights into how the pandemic might affect their attitudes towards flying and the frequency with which they plan to do so going forward.
"This has important consequences for the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on this sector for their jobs and livelihoods.”
The survey comes after the boss of Europe’s largest tour company said he is “optimistic” the summer holiday season can be saved with successful vaccine programmes.
In an interview with the BBC, Tui Group chief executive Friedrich Joussen said bookings in March had hit 2.8 million, with the company expecting to operate up to 75% of its normal schedule for the summer season.
But a committee of MPs warned that “vague and costly” proposals is not enough to reboot the aviation and tourism sectors, putting the planned restart of international travel next month in jeopardy.
The Transport Select Committee said that international travel has had its “wings clipped” by the government's "cautious" Global Travel Taskforce report.
The committee said the report gave “insufficient” detail to allow businesses and travellers to prepare for the safe resumption of international travel as planned on 17 May.
It also said that, where detail was provided, the costs could be “disproportionate to the risk” and could add £500 for a family of four travelling to the “safest” parts of the globe where vaccine rollout is comparable to the UK.
Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reported that a government official told travel industry figures in a call on Wednesday that there is an aim to give people the ability to prove their vaccine status when international travel starts up again, where such a thing is required by other countries.
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