Regionalisation - UK - March 2009
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Throughout most of the decade, the UK’s travel and holiday industry has enjoyed boom times. Driven by a buoyant economy and fundamental changes to the way we book and take holidays, the industry has seen several years of unprecedented growth.
This trend has also accelerated as a result of the increasing regionalisation of the UK’s air travel map. In the five years between 2003 and 2007, UK regional airports increased their share of passenger traffic from 40% to 42%. In addition, Eurostar’s move to St. Pancras International and the completion of the HS1 line have opened up this option to travellers outside the London region – although in comparison to air travel’s regionalisation this has had a negligible impact.
Indeed, the key driver has come from the growth in international scheduled air services, more than doubling since 2002. Primarily down to the expanding route networks of the budget airlines, 20 regional airports now feature scheduled international programmes.
But the harsh economic climate is taking its toll on the entire travel market. A number of regional airports are experiencing a reversal in their growth curves. Newcastle, Glasgow and Cardiff are witnessing declining passenger numbers, as are some of the smaller local airports in locations such as Durham Tees, Coventry and Blackpool.
In addition, with the majority of the UK’s airports now privately controlled, the competitive environment is becoming more intense. More travellers now have more than one option available to them. And the choice process is a complex one involving the trading-off of factors such as cost, time, convenience, availability of desired connections – even the levels of stress that have to be endured.
Key report themes:
The travel market in general, its past performance and more crucially, the challenges it now faces.
The background economic, demographic and key socio-economic factors that shape regional differences.
Detailed analysis of the performance of regional airports.
Evaluation of regional holiday patterns and channels of distribution.
Assessment of traveller preferences and attitudes in relation to regionalisation.
Key opportunities for regional airports in terms of meeting passenger needs.
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